The concept of Broken Dialogue stems from a brief conversation that Abby, Ricky, and myself had about the children’s game Telephone, a game in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first.
We soon discovered that another name for this game was “Chinese Whispers”, derived from Westerners’ use of the word Chinese to denote “confusion” and “incomprehensibility” in early contacts between Europeans and Chinese people in the 17th century. The term reflected early Europeans’ inability to understand China’s culture and worldview.
Having learned the rather problematic nature of the game’s origin, we decided to tackle this topic further by playing our own game of visual telephone through the perspective of second generation Asian Canadians.
Coming from a visual arts background, I aim to bring to the table some aesthetically pleasing illustrations that will complement the theme of this collaborative book project.
I will be speaking from my own personal experiences as a Japanese-Chinese second generation immigrant. Being of mixed race is something that has – and continues to – shape my individuality, and I hope that our readers will be able to relate to the experiences that are shared by the three of us.