Foreign Tongues

Foreign Tongues
street cluster

In the labyrinths of cities a certain complexity cannot be avoided. Random encounters in public spaces increase the ability to react, direct the gaze, allow for new modes of thinking and seeing, while, at the same time defining the communication that arises between people under the spell of architecture, matter and landscape. The questions of how we use language, how a given statement is interpreted by another, are at the centre of this performance; for the city as a living-space, constantly generates new expressions, jargons and phonemic variations.

But what is the specific sound of a certain meaning? How does its embodiment look? The languages sampled in Foreign Tongues are, even before they have meaning, fundamentally sound and rhythm, ambivalent islands of sound. Dialects, regional languages and slangs get transformed into sequences of movement, based on their dynamics, emphasis and acoustic atmosphere. Speech patterns – in the interplay of feeling and rational thinking – are musically captured and interpreted through gestures. What initially may seem like a Babylonian tangle of languages, is turned, via the bodily adaptation in space, into a form of communication which far surpasses its linguistic content.

With a flexible sound system the performers interweave the urban soundscape with the timbres of distant or neighbouring language spaces. The audience follows these audio tracks which, interpreted through dance, become readable like an open-air score. The sound of the cities becomes a spoken word symphony which expands with each new location. Foreign Tongues uses the collision of languages and communicative contradictions as a means of creation – demonstrating, among other things, how much is already understood, even at a point where you think you haven’t understood anything yet.

In the Foreign Tongues projects series, Liquid Loft explore the complex interactions between verbal messages and their physical concomitants. Foreign Tongues approaches, with the vocabulary of body language, the often contradictory forms of communication. Starting point for the various performances are language recordings, which were produced as part of personal interviews in different regions of Europe.

After the stage performance, Foreign Tongues expands into public space in different cities of Europe within the framework of an IN SITU pilot project. The site-specific performances are based on local languages and jargons, reflecting the sound environment of the place. With every location, the "Spoken Word Symphony“ grows, the characteristic architecture of the site becomes the scenery of the play.