A language, of course, is not merely a set of grammatical rules or a vocabulary. It is a flash of the human spirit, the vehicle by which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a water-shed of thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities...within a generation or two we will be witnessing the loss of fully half of humanity's social, cultural and intellectual legacy. Wade Davis (2009) The Wayfinders, pg. 3 With an original commissioned sound score by Kevin James and using taped field recordings and archival material, VANISHING LANGUAGES brings attention to the ongoing mass extinction of many indigenous languages throughout the world.
Funds for the composer’s commission were provided by the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program. Live music, set and costume costs have been generously underwritten by Paul Ukena, Milan F. Vetter and Diane Max. A painting by artist Philip Tsiaras comments on obsolescence by incorporating fragmented extinct languages into a vivid panoply of gestural painting.