Language Memory


The Language memory archive has recently been reworked into a portable instrument to be played by the performer, like an harmonica. This performance has been shown at the opening of the museum in Neiden and also at Lofoten Sound Art Symposium 2018.

Language Memory started out as a project digitizing and recording the skolt sámi dictionary for an “art in public spaces” installation built in the foajé of the Skolt sámi museum in Neiden, north-east Norway. The artwork consists of a screen and a button. When the visitors press the button a video of a local Skolt sámi representative is shown (from the Finish side of the border, since the language is no longer spoken in Norway and is currently an endangered language). He or she reads one word from the dictionary back to the visitor. Approximately 6000 words have been recorded and sorted in a database combined with dictionary data. One reader per letter of the alphabet. Specially developed computer programs and tools made this possible, both on the field-recording side and the presentation side.

The installation has also been shown at Sami centre for contemporary art in 2018.

The material collected is also stored as a part of the Dobes-archive (www.mpi.nl/dobes) in the Netherlands.

Recent experiments also include using machine learning to re-create dead or endangered languages:
link to 3quarksdaily essay