Language Study Update: 1800 Days

I'm on an 1800 day learning streak with Duolingo (sharing graphic)

I am persistent.

This year it has been all German. I have travel plans that require another language, and my reluctance to study that language has me doubting whether I will really go…

Language: Still Studying (Mostly German)

Duolingo language app graphic that reads, "I'm on a 1639 day stream and a Streak Society VIP!"
Special graphic from earlier this week. I am still rolling along, and the lessons get updated around me…

I am ridiculous.

I usually practice German, and will eventually choose my alternate language this year. I should go back to Spanish, but I forget it instantly. I want to return to Japanese, but I found my study notebook, and I don’t understand my own notes! (GAAAAAHHHHH! [Scream that sounds similar in Japanese, actually.])

Google Translate has improved, but often uses less common words or is too literal. I use it when translating discussions of new subjects, but have had feedback multiple times from native German speakers that it isn’t quite right, and they prefer my efforts. But… But…

Language: Still Duolingo-ing

Yes, it is outrageous. Yes, it is good practice. Yes, I’ve been at it so long that they keep updating the lessons AROUND me.

This year I spent time on Hawaiian, and then switched back to German. I miss Japanese, but fear that I forgot all the kanji already. I’m not cool enough for French and Spanish this year, though I’m happy that I found my notebook with Spanish and Japanese notes. (They… are not similar!)

Yes, I’m a paying member, so I was able to buy a “streak freeze” on the few days I couldn’t get to my lessons before midnight. But STILL. I’m… persistent! The owl (die Eule) mascot, Duo, is momentarily appeased.

Language: Still Studying

Even I am surprised at my persistence!

I’m still studying Japanese, but my lack of kanji memorization is slowing me down, and I haven’t been making the flash cards from my notes to get to the level I need to be at. But I’m not giving up, either…

Book: Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You, edited by Peter Eleey, et al.

Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You
edited / essays by Peter Eleey, Robyn Farrell, Michael Govan, James Rondeau, Zoé Whitley, and more
published by Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and DelMonico Books – DAP

Barbara Kruger’s retrospective has been calling to me from afar, and I was able to buy the book to read up in advance of seeing it!

Kruger’s most famous past works are widely recognized for their iconic consistency: a bold, black and white image with direct, engaging, nearly accusing Future Bold Oblique text on a high-contrast (often red) background. (I can just say, “Your Body is a Battlefield,” and the image will pop into your head!) She’s done much more with words, and I’ve had the pleasure of exploring a room wrapped in her power-questioning, engaging, accusatory texts.

This book features a significant amount of engaging, unsurprisingly bold, unsurprisingly relevant new works by Kruger, plus excellent essays about her and the ongoing relevance of the questions her work asks. Her work quotes Orwell, mocks the powerful, and challenges our willingness to be reduced from active citizens to consumers. The essays approach her challenges to us from different angles, quote James Baldwin, ask about our tendencies to judge, discuss empathy and contempt, and are thoughtful throughout.

The collection of recent work includes long walls/rooms of text, and it’s great to have them in book form to be able to take the time to read them all the way through.

It also comes with homework! There’s a collection of essays at the end which are presented as a sort of “syllabus” to the lessons we could be learning from all of this.

It’s a great book – not just in content, but also in form! The covers are boldly printed book-board with a printed fabric spine, and all the fore-edges are painted the same green as her work (and the x’s on the cover). I appreciate the boldness of the design.

For sale at the LACMA store, and wherever fine art books are sold.

This book is HIGHLY recommended if you love: Barbara Kruger, well-produced art books, text art, and concise, incisive cultural commentary.