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PHI Event Centre Eveildeslangues COVER

Awakening Tongues: The Future of Languages at Risk of Extinction

  • Discussion
  • Cultural Mediation
  • Community
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PHI Centre Space A
315 Saint-Paul St West
Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2A3

Doors: 6 pm
Discussion: 6:30 pm

General admission: $20
Student admission: $15

Taxes and fees not included

Please note that the discussion will take place in English.

A panel discussion addressing the realities facing Indigenous languages throughout the world today.

It’s estimated that 1,500 of the world’s languages are at risk of becoming extinct by the end of the twenty-first century—this represents a fifth of recognized languages. To raise awareness and mobilize resources for the preservation of Indigenous languages, the United Nations has designated 2022–2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. Kusunda (2021), currently on display at the PHI Centre, is a virtual reality experience by Felix Gaedtke and Gayatri Parameswaran that explores efforts to revive the Kusunda language in Nepal. This panel discussion will address the realities facing Indigenous languages throughout the world today. The speakers will reflect on the roles artists, writers, journalists, and technology play in assuring the survival and revitalization of these languages and the cultures they each carry.

SPECIAL OFFER

Ticket holders for this panel will automatically receive a discount to visit the Horizons VR exhibition at the PHI Centre, where they can experience Kusunda.

PHI Event Horizons VR COVER
Experience Immersion

Horizons VR

June 30 March 5

A special selection of award-winning VR works that will draw you into four distinct worlds sharing unique and powerful stories

Mojeanne Behzadi

Mojeanne Behzadi is a curator and poet based in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal. She is currently the director of Art Speaks, an international contemporary art lecture series and the curator of research and programs at Artexte. Mojeanne holds an MA in Art History from Concordia University and works as an independent curator on numerous projects. She recently developed and hosted the Trajectories podcast for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and she curated the Spillover Love exhibition at the Stewart Hall Art Gallery in Pointe-Claire in 2021. Her current curatorial research focuses on love as a radical tool for resistance, mobilisation, and social transformation.

PHI Event Centre Disappearing Languages/Beyond the stage Mojeanne

Gayatri Parameswaran
Co-director of Kusunda

Gayatri Parameswaran is a multi-award winning writer, director and producer of immersive works. She grew up in India and is currently based in Berlin, where she co-founded NowHere Media -- a storytelling studio that views contemporary issues through a critical lens. Gayatri works at the intersection of storytelling, technology and social change. Her work has been exhibited at the Venice International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, IDFA, Festival de Cannes, United Nations and beyond. She is a Sundance New Frontier alumnus, has won the Tribeca Storyscapes Award for Best Immersive, SXSW Best Use of Immersive Arts and the Lumiere Award for Best VR documentary among other accolades. Gayatri is a guest lecturer at the Freie Universität (FU) Berlin, Hochschule für Medien, Kommunikation und Wirtschaft (HMKW) Berlin, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and Züricher Hochschule der Kunst (ZHdK). She is an Erasmus Mundus scholar in War & Conflict Reporting and an alumnus of the German Chancellor Fellowship.

PHI Event Centre Disappearing Languages Gayatri

Joséphine Bacon
Innu poet 

Poet, director, documentary filmmaker, lyricist, translator, storyteller and Innu-Aimun teacher, Joséphine Bacon is an Innu from Pessamit. She is a leading Quebec author of international acclaim and a great ambassador of First Nations culture in Quebec and abroad. Very involved in the Indigenous literary and artistic scene, she inspires the younger generations to be proud of being Indigenous and to defend their language and culture. Translator-interpreter and teacher of Innu-aimun (the Innu language) for 40 years, Joséphine Bacon has dedicated her life to listening to and passing on the knowledge of the elders. She writes by travelling the kilometres of her memory where the stories of the ancestors to whom she served as interpreter are recorded. By enriching literature with works written in Innu and transposed into French, she has written a new page in Quebec poetry while contributing to the perpetuation of the Innu language.

Joséphine's poetry is currently on display outside of the PHI Centre as part of Water Road, a free interactive multimedia installation visible from the building’s exterior windows on St. Pierre Street.

PHI Event Centre Disappearing Languages Josephine Credit melanie crete
Photo: Melanie Crete

Léuli Eshrāghi
Artist and curator prioritizing Indigenous and diasporic Asian visual arts

Léuli Eshrāghi, born in Yuwi Country and active across Sāmoa, Australia and Canada of Sāmoan, Persian, Cantonese ancestry, works across forms of creativity. They intervene in display territories to prioritize global Indigenous and Asian diasporic visuality, sensual and spoken languages, and ceremonial-political practices. They are Curatorial Researcher in Residence at University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, and Curator of TarraWarra Biennial 2023: ua usiusi faʻavaʻasavili at TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville.

PHI Event Centre Disappearing Voices Leuli credit Alireza Shojaian
Photo: Alireza Shojaian

Jeremy Dutcher
Performer, composer, activist and musicologist

Performer, composer, activist, musicologist — these roles are all infused into Jeremy Dutcher's art and way of life. His music, too, transcends boundaries: unapologetically playful in its incorporation of classical influences, full of reverence for the traditional songs of his home,and teeming with the urgency of modern-day struggles of resistance.

A member of Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Jeremy first did music studies in Halifax before taking a chance to work in the archives at the Canadian Museum of History, painstakingly transcribing Wolastoq songs from 1907 wax cylinders. “Many of the songs I’d never heard before, because our musical tradition on the East Coast was suppressed by the Canadian Government’s Indian Act.” Jeremy heard ancestral voices singing forgotten songs and stories that had been taken from the Wolastoqiyik generations ago.

As he listened to each recording, he felt his own musical impulses stirring from deep within. Long days at the archives turned into long nights at the piano, feeling out melodies and phrases, deep in dialogue with the voices of his ancestors. These “collaborative”compositions, collected together on his debut LP Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, are like nothing you’ve ever heard. Delicate, sublime vocal melodies ring out atop piano lines that cascade through a vibrant range of emotions. The anguish and joy of the past erupt fervently into the present through Jeremy’s bold approach to composition and raw, affective performances enhanced by his outstanding tenor techniques.

“I’m doing this work because there’s only about a hundred Wolastoqey speakers left,” he says. “It’s crucial for us to make sure that we’re using our language and passing it on to the next generation. If you lose the language, you’re not just losing words; you’re losing an entire way of seeing and experiencing the world from a distinctly indigenous perspective.”

PHI Event Centre Eveildeslangues Jeremy Dutcher credit Vanessa Heins
Photo: Vanessa Heins
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