I’m a very visual learner, hence why I’m getting a degree in graphic design. I have always struggled getting information out of written text. I will get much more out of watching or listening to something rather than reading the same information.
It has been incredibly validating to learn that this is not a unique experience and that it often comes up in people who have ADHD. Research has shown that reading comprehension and executive function are connected, so someone with ADHD who struggles with executive function, will likely also struggle to understand what they are reading. People with ADHD often skip over words and have trouble shifting focus while reading.16 Both of these experiences, as well as others, can lead to difficulty getting anything out of a text.
Wait. What Was That Supposed to Say? is a visual depiction of how I feel when I am reading. The Risograph printed, spiral bound booklet contains journal entries that I wrote over the summer and during the first semester, but typeset in a manner where only little pieces are intelligible.
I started with the original journal entries, but then I ran them through Google Translate over and over again. Each time I translated the text into another language, I layered the translation back to English on top of the previous translation using the Risograph. Google Translate is far from perfect, so the text changed just enough each time to make each layer less understandable. Layering the translations on top of each other led to moments of clarity at the beginnings and ends of the journal entries. At the beginnings, the text had not yet changed much and often lined up for a few words. At the ends, the length of the text often became shorter with each translation, revealing understandable lines of text.
I often feel like I completely miss most of what I’m reading, only understanding little snippets. This project aims to give people who don’t have trouble reading the same experience that I have while reading.