Speaking Mother Tongues

Elizabeth Vander Zaag

2007, 25:00 minutes, colour, English


Speaking Mother Tongues is a two channel video installation with one channel showing a video of talking heads and the second channel showing a software generated spectrographic image of the voices in the source video.

The content of the video entitled
Speaking Mother Tongues is divided into three parts. In all of the sections a profound sense of the emotional connection to mother tongues is revealed.

Tracing Language
In Tracing Language participants chronicle their mother tongue, their mother’s mother tongues and their children’s mother tongues. A tapestry of language complexity and richness emerges. The spectrographic display of participant voicing of their languages enhances the language textures.

Feeling Language
A sense of the bodily origins of language is evoked in Feeling Language. Participants reveal their experience of the embodied nature of language. Participants describe specific instances of how their body position affects their production of language. Participants allude to the cellular existence of language in the body. Other participants describe the ways that the materiality of language impacts their emotional state.

Changing Language
In the last section Changing Language a range of comments by participants demonstrates the dynamic nature of language and the ways in which language is changing, through assimilation into different cultures, through technology and through intergenerational language fragmentation.

2-Channel Installation Requirements:
Speaking Mother Tongues dvd
2 screens – the size will depend on the viewing facility, the size of the two screens should be the same.
1 dvd playback
1 PC computer
1 mini to USB connector (to connect audio out of DVD player into USB input on PC,
imic mini to USB connector is recommended)
Real-time spectrographic software provided by the artist.
2 speakers – speaker input can be taken out of second mini jack on mini to USB connector.

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