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MIAD student’s Senior Exhibition project explores language barriers and their impact on personal and cultural identity

Apr 3, 2018

The United States and South Korea don’t share a geographical border, but they share equal space in the mind of Daniel J. Chung, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Communication Design senior who is graduating in May.

Daniel Chung holds up the flag he created.

Daniel J. Chung

Daniel has spent half of his 24 years in South Korea and the other half in the United States. He constantly straddles a line between two very different cultures, and often feels as though he doesn’t fully belong in either one. He must also navigate linguistic miscommunications and overcome the feelings of disconnect that can plague interactions with peers. For example, Daniel said it can be difficult to bond with peers due to challenges in understanding slang, humor and technical terms of different cultures and workplaces.

His experience is the inspiration for his senior thesis project, “Lost in Translation,” which is on view at the MIAD 2018 Senior Exhibition, April 20 – May 12 in MIAD’s galleries.

Daniel designed the exhibit as a space to explore linguistic and cultural barriers and their impact on personal and cultural identity, allowing viewers the chance to understand his struggles. The exhibit space is dark and isolated, with many components. Two videos play simultaneously: In one, Daniel reads a passage from the Bible about the Tower of Babel in English, and in the other he reads the same passage in Korean. The viewer experiences the clash of languages that Daniel must overcome daily.

In another component, Daniel designs a new flag, taking elements from both the American and South Korean flags and combining them into one. The exhibit also features several posters.

Daniel was one of four students selected by MIAD alumni to receive an Alumni Thesis Scholarship, supporting the fabrication and installation of his project.

Currently, Daniel works as a design intern at Hoffman York, a full-service advertising agency in the Historic Third Ward. Two other internships and curricular projects in his Communication Design courses, such as collaborations with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and the Pettit National Ice Center, have prepared him for the workforce after graduation.

The MIAD 2018 Senior Exhibition Opening Reception is Friday, April 20, 5 – 9 p.m. during Spring Gallery Night in the Historic Third Ward. Admission is free. Public welcome. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The exhibition is generously sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

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