Trained in linguistics and philosophy, Lena Herzog is a multimedia artist whose work has been exhibited around the world. Last Whispers, an immersive cinematic experience dedicated to vanishing languages, is the result of Herzog’s ongoing interest in indigenous dialects, which are disappearing at an astonishing rate. By 2050, half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken around the world will fall silent. In Herzog’s oratorio, the historical recordings of more than 40 endangered or lost languages come alive among the echoes of collapsing stars in a work The New Yorker critic Alex Ross calls “haunting and singular.” Multiple panels and open discussions are planned to provide deeper understanding of the languages and what is being done worldwide to protect indigenous voices from fading away.
The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
Oratorio and Panel Discussion Schedule
Herzog’s immersive oratorio, Last Whispers, will be preceded by panel discussions on select days, outlined below. This unique experience will be offered in back-to-back presentations on Sunday, October 20.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16 @ 3:00 PM
CELEBRATING LANGUAGE AS A GLOBAL CULTURAL PHENOMENON
Join us for an opening symposium celebrating language as a global cultural phenomenon, moderated by Dr. Lois Oppenheim, Chair, Modern Languages and Literatures, Montclair State University. The immersive oratorio follows this discussion.
Last Whispers will be presented at conclusion with lobby reception afterwards.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 @ 7:30 PM
LENA HERZOG – HER ADVOCACY AND ARTISTRY
Hear director Lena Herzog discuss her research on lost languages, and the creation process of Last Whispers. After the immersive oratorio, Herzog will be joined by Jedediah Wheeler in a
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 @ 7:30 PM
GLOBAL RESPONSES TO LANGUAGE LOSS
Join us for an important discussion about what is being done to preserve endangered languages, led by Mary Linn, Curator of Cultural and Linguistic Revitalization at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The immersive oratorio follows this conversation.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 @ 7:30 PM
LOUD & CLEAR: LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY ON THE BRINK
Ross Perlin, co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance, brings together scholars and activists invested in protecting and revitalizing native languages in our region. This timely discussion occurs prior to the immersive oratorio.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20 @ 1:30 PM & 3:00 PM
Back-to-back presentations of the immersive oratorio.
Because of the unique nature of this series – including rich panel discussions and an experience that lends itself to repeated viewing- audiences are invited to attend one or more events for the price of a single ticket. For more information, please contact the box office
Last Whispers was created in collaboration with The Endangered Languages Institute, SOAS, University of London. It is co-presented by The Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, UNESCO
Programs in Peak Performances’ 2019-20 season are made possible in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.