The Italo Latin American Institute at the 56th Venice Biennale will host an exhibition titled Indigenous Voices.
The selected artists have an affinity for the indigenous linguistic heritage. The main factors in the choice of the 14 languages are not only the historical and cultural importance of the language and ethnic group, but also how close to the brink of extinction they are, and how much esthetic appeal they have. The artists also determine the subject and the type of texts used.
On entering the room intentionally maintained austere, visitors will first hear a vague, polyphonic murmuring of all the voices together, a tapestry of sound reminiscent of a sacred space; they will then approach the individual loudspeakers though which every single language will be clearly audible. Individual text signs will give hints about the content and cultural background of each language.
The radical reduction of the installation to sound only demands intense concentration on the part of the visitors; the more the listeners are willing to immerse themselves in the cosmos of rare languages, the more visual elements can be dispensed with. It is also noteworthy that all the artists are participating in a collective work that knows neither hegemony nor rank.
The project is also meant as a contribution to the debate around the Humboldt-Forum, the most important cultural undertaking in Berlin, due to be finished in 2019. The sound works will be published as a DVD, to become part of important public art collections in South America and Europe. Furthermore, the sound installation will be shown by the Goethe-Institut in 12 cities of South America in 2015.
- © Photo: Paulo Nazareth. Courtesy of the Latin American Pavilion - IILA