“The Rain in Spain stay mainly in the plain” is the sentence that Professor Higgins uses to train Eliza to pronounce the “A” sound in “My Fair Lady.” This sentence appeared constantly and was the most famous line in the movie; it eventually became the standard to judge if Eliza had succeeded. This video has continued my concern toward the impact of the post-colonial phenomenon on the individual and cultural identity crisis. This is also my second work inspired by the classic 70’s movie “My Fair Lady.”
This time I would like to present more directly, the parts in the movie that were deliberately beautified – the pains and struggles faced in the process of transformation. I found pre-sessional (a pre-Master’s English class, student’s that language grades did not fulfill entry requirements must pass the course before gaining official school entry) students and their instructors to film because these students that just arrived in England were just starting to face the clash between different cultural systems and self-identity. I attempted to reproduce how Professor Higgins trained Eliza in the movie. In the film, each student had a sheet of paper that was printed with “The Rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.” After the students read the sentence aloud, the professor would repeatedly correct the student’s pronunciation and articulation problems. In the final work, I removed the professor’s training process, and only showed the students repeating the line and making corrections, it is similar to NG footage in a movie, but no one can predict their performance in the next take.
Embarrassment, frustration, numbness, trying to pull oneself together, and frustration once again, reality is so cruel, we seem to clearly observe a transformation from being totally untrained to after training, but my question is what did we change in the end?
The Rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain – My Fair Lady series no.2 2009
Single channel video installation / HDV 6:49 minutes