Friday, 15 April 2011

"Last Silent Movie" at Tate Britain

As part of the Susan Hiller retrospective at Tate Britain, her work "The Last Silent Movie" is on display.

The work consists of recordings of various endangered and extinct languages. Visually, an otherwise blank screen, displays subtitles translating the speech into English. Notably, the speaker of Khulkassi is not subtitled because no one can translate the lullaby she sings.

The Telegraph says that the piece
Takes the theme of extinction and memory and what remains of us when we die to its logical conclusion. For what we are listening to are the last speakers of extinct or endangered languages.
and the Independent states that
Hiller's film is like the voice of a ghost, speaking a dialect of the dead
and declares that one speaker's assertion that "We will speak Comanche forever." isn't true, because "only a handful of people now use the language, all of them old."

In their reviews of the retrospective, The Guardian, and the London Evening Standard do not mention this piece at all.

The languages used in the piece are:
The full credits are listed in the article: Translating Death.

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