ICEVIEW is a bilingual English-Icelandic literary journal based in remote northern Iceland. A few months after we met KT Brown, ICEVIEW’s founder and Editor-in-Chief, here in Berlin, she interviewed our Managing Editor Simone about SAND and our own relationship to our local and international communities. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
To what extent do you think language barriers are at play in the construction or deconstruction of community?
Language certainly plays a role in demarcating communities, creating invisible barriers between those that don’t share the same method of communication. I live on a predominantly Arab stretch of Sonnenallee in Berlin, and have no doubt that if I spoke some Arabic, I would be more connected to my direct community. However, languages and dialects – and even the ways in which different communities use the same language – also serve to create social texture. Not only that, languages are amazing identifiers of a shared community and of the various ways communities have made them distinct over the centuries through accent, vocabulary, inflection and cadence. This is something I notice quite often living away from Ireland: simply bumping into someone from Ireland here brings with it a certain ease of communication I wouldn’t necessarily experience with non-Irish English-speakers.
With SAND being very much a believer in building local communities, do you think that digital life has expanded or hindered the development of communities?
I think I fall on the side of expanded here. Admittedly though, all I can speak for are the communities that I myself have experience with. As much as I admire and am excited by the many back-to-the-roots communities that seek to preserve and uphold traditional values which have existed for thousands of years, I do think the benefits of digital life have created opportunities for communities we never thought possible. The reality is that digital life is becoming more and more unavoidable now, and the best way forward is to work together with your community, to stay as informed and open-minded as possible.