ONLY CONNECT FESTIVAL OF SOUND 2016:
Espen Sommer Eide
Dead Language Poetry
Espen Sommer Eide is a musician and artist from Tromsø. With the musical projects Alog and Phonophani he has been among the most prominent representatives of experimental electronic music from Norway. He presents Dead Language Poetry, a performance concerning extinct languages. What are the sounds of dead languages, and can those sounds be revived?
Dead Language Poetry
Every tenth day a language disappears, and at that rate, within a few generations, half of the approximately 6000 languages in the world today will be extinct. That a language can die is a complex subject. Is a forgotten language the same as a dead one? Can language be kept and conserved for future generations, or is a language alive only when actively used and spoken between people in a society?
What we lose when a language dies is a broad topic which is interesting from both a cultural historical, linguistic and philosophical point of view. With a background in art, music and philosophy, Espen Sommer Eide has used numerous approaches to observe the phenomenon. He is interested in the complexity in the process behind destruction, evolution and creation of language.
In the performance this subject is also treated from a pure aesthetic perspective. Is it possible to find a unique signature of sound in different languages, and can such an aesthetic aspect be detached from the aspects of knowledge and identity? What is the sound of dead languages, and can it be revived? When Edison invented the phonograph, it was soon seen as a means, not primarily to play music, but to hear voices of dead persons. The voices recorded on the phonograph were experienced as sounds without bodies; as spirits in space. Through deconstructions of language Sommer Eide touches questions about the lines between living and dead languages, between meaning and sound, and between linguistic metaphorical structures and musically structured sound.
Espen Sommer Eide (b. 1972) is a musician and artist from Tromsø. With the musical projects Alog and Phonophani he has been among the most prominent representatives of experimental electronic music from Norway, with a string of releases on the label Rune Grammofon. He has also created a series of site-specific works at the intersection of art and science. His works has investigated subjects related to scientific and musical instruments, language, history and perception. His work has been exhibited and performed at the 2008 Manifesta Biennial, Bergen Kunsthall, Henie Onstad kunstsenter, Stedelijk Museum, De Halle Haarlem, Sonic Acts, Mutek festival, GRM/Presences Électronique, Performa Festival and more. Eide is also a member of the theatre/art collective Verdensteatret, with extensive international touring and exhibitions. Eide has been involved in a series of art and archival projects associated with topics relating to the Barents and Arctic regions of Northern Norway.