Shadow Tongues

Shadow Tongues
2-channel video made in collaboration with Anastasia Sosunova

in Head With Many Thoughts, Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, 2020
Curators: Neringa Bumblienė, Julija Fomina, Virginija Januškevičiūtė, Ūla Tornau and Asta Vaičiulytė
Photos: Andrej Vasilenko

‘Shadow Tongues' interweaves the stories of Purple and Green as they navigate their quotidian daily existence across disparate lands that are both ruled by oppressive political powers and immersed in relentless news cycles. When one of them goes to sleep, the other wakes up, and while each is unaware of the other, they are linked by the ability to speak a unique, hybridized vernacular. This rare vernacular visits each of them in the form of a parasitic tongue that appears in their dreams and empowers them to reclaim words and their meanings. Purple and Green each gradually disassociate from codified language. They form linguistic utopias and escape routes by renaming the world around them. They find kinship with the person they keep seeing in their dreams and eventually they come face to face with one another.

The contagious tongue, crawling from one host to the next, represents small gestures of everyday resistance. It empowers Purple and Green to find a common subversive language, naming the world they wish to see rather than the world dictated for them. Shadow Tongues’ was inspired by Milorad Pavić lexicon novel ‘The Dictionary of Khazars,’ which the author himself described as a metaphor for a small people surviving in between great powers and great religions.

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