Landon Krentz on being deaf: This machine is a human

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      Landon Krentz is a Vancouver-based arts and events management professional and deaf-queer individual. He has created a series of social media self-portraits to raise awareness of issue that deaf people face. This is the second self-portrait in his series.

      Are we programmed to behave robotically in social environments?

      The cochlear implant (or CI) received its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1990 and it has been controversial for over two decades. This machine had a significant impact on Deaf culture due to the perception of hearing people trying to force it on the community. The greater the force, the more some Deaf community members want to flip a table. For them, the CI is nothing but a computer inside a human body.

      In this image, this person is the embodiment of a betrayal of the Deaf world, though Deaf culture remains a part of him.

      His experience of Deafness is like a porcupine: when there are social dangers, a quill pricks him for every awkward encounter.

      Every day, he is reminded of his interaction with Audists and ensures that they’re comfortable with him, even though a large percentage of the hearing world will avoid Deaf people due to communication barriers.

      He is often caught “checking out” of a conversation and, like a machine, nodding with a pseudo smile.

      This bionic human experiences stigma and judgment from both Deaf people and the hearing world because he belongs to neither.

      Though his Deaf identity is invisible, he has a choice: to hide or to reveal his beautiful self.

      The CI may be a machine and technology will never be perfect. The gap between both worlds—the Deaf and hearing worlds—are great. It is up to you to decide to proceed with an open mind towards acceptance of all auditory binaries and spectrums.