Closed captions often do not fully convey the meaning, emotion, or even the full dialogue of spoken English to a d/Deaf audience. They are often incomplete, whether due to audist assumptions about the ability of d/Deaf to understand content (such as with captions that present allegedly less lofty language than that spoken by the actors on-screen), or the technological failure whereby caption decoders in televisions and in the devices cinemas use drop a line of dialogue. Other times, the failure of closed captions relates to the more subtle inability of formal written captioning protocols to capture tone of voice, or to really represent what emotional information is portrayed by a soundtrack. What does it mean to have “upbeat music” or to name the instrument itself? My work subverts this obfuscation of meaning, turning the tables to privilege disabled communities over non-disabled communities.
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Marrok Sedgwick is a disabled trans educator using artmaking as a tool for challenging society’s injustices. As a creative producer and documentarian, Sedgwick’s work has screened internationally. His film Stim won the PK Walker Innovation Award at the 2018 Superfest International Disability Film Festival. As an educator, Sedgwick has worked in general education and special education classrooms, as well as with a drama program for youth with disabilities.