“The Unspeakable Speaking”, a video essay made in the early nineties by VALIE EXPORT and Ingrid and Oswald Wiener, is dedicated to the phenomenon of glossolalia or speaking in tongues, of speaking without an audible sense. The film shows, among others, people with speech disorders and psychoses, sound poets and infants. The production of unfamiliar speech sounds and neologisms is found in shamanic traditions; today it is mainly practiced in communication rituals of US-American Pentecostal churches. The research trip therefore took the filmmakers to Lousiana to various congregations of this movement, in which glossolalia is exercised as an universal religious practice of the enthusiastic-ecstatic vocal expression of being filled by the Holy Spirit.
“Language, as a tool of thought, essentially supports human expression. What happens, however, if, due to illness, this function is suspended through the loss of the ability to speak or to comprehend, through automatisms of the speech apparatus or conscious artistic interventions?” (O. Wiener)
Film screening to the exhibition „Kristina Buch. You can’t walk unless the word runs.“
VALIE EXPORT, Ingrid and Oswald Wiener:
The Unspeakable Speaking, 1992
45 min (de, enUT)
Courtesy: the artists and sixpackfilm, Vienna