The last silent movie, 2008
Tallahassee, Florida, United States, 1940; lives in Berlin e London
The last silent movie, 2007-08
digital projection, 22
Predominantly an audio work, The last silent movie (2007-08) is a patchwork of fragments from audio archives of extinct, nearly extinct or endangered languages. Despite the films title, no image is seen only a black screen and the sound of different languages, each preceded by its respective name and extinction status. Lists, inventories and classifications are recurring formats in the work of Susan Hiller, an artist who dialogues with other fields of knowledge such as history, psychoanalysis and anthropology, always interested in unobvious aspects of culture. The film gathers languages of various indigenous peoples including the Xokleng, from northern Santa Catarina State, Brazil, the Nganasan, from the Arctic coast of Siberia, the Wainaa, from Timor Leste, and the Klallam, from the Northwest United States as well as dialects of the Sorbian Slav minority in Germany, of the Baltic coast peoples in Norway, and of a whistled language spoken in the Canary Islands of Spain. The voices talk about daily life, recite vocabulary lists, and narrate myths, but also discourse incisively about the threat of extinction and cultural resistance through language. For its screening at Inhotim, the film will be projected in versions with English and Portuguese subtitles, alternately.