Step into Justin LeBlanc’s new exhibition at CAM Raleigh, Probable Normal Hearing, and you step into a story. It’s likely an unfamiliar story—disorienting, surreal, even haunting—unless you’re part of the five percent of the population that is deaf. But good storytelling can disorient and reorient, create distance from its audience and inspire empathy. Probable Normal Hearing strikes that balance, telling a story that’s challenging, vulnerable and intensely personal.
LeBlanc was born deaf, though it wasn’t discovered for several years. The last note scribbled on his medical chart before his doctor realized the diagnosis was “probable normal hearing.” That prominent and unreachable word so long at the top of his audiology charts—“normal”—haunted his early years. In retrospect, LeBlanc says, “I tried to be normal for so long that I forgot what it was like to be Deaf.”
January 13, 2022