Last Whispers is a virtual reality experience that visualizes the extinction of languages around the world. Director Lena Herzog says that there are about 7,000 active languages on the planet, but that we’re loosing one to two languages a week due to climate change displacement as well as different factors of economic and cultural colonialism. She says that we’re on pace to live in a world that only has 30 different languages, and so she wanted to try to tackle the problem of “How do you tell the story of silence?”
I had a chance to talk to Herzog at the IDFA DocLab about the process of designing and developing Last Whispers, her collaboration with Emblematic Group, why she felt like this piece needed to have the full immersion of VR, and the need to move beyond binary thinking in being able to preserve cultural heritage through pride of language while also being worldly and engaged with the rest of the world. We also cover some of the more philosophical aspects with Herzog saying that language is our first creative act, that it’s extremely democratic, and how it is able to embed many aspects of culture and understanding.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE VOICES OF VR PODCAST
Here’s an introduction to her VR film that she gave leading up to Sundance this year:
This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.