Edition of 500
19,5 x 25 cm
Texts by Anush Hamzehian and Vittorio Mortarotti,
Raksit T. Lau-Preechathammarach, Gavan McCormack, Arne Røkkum,
Published by Skinnerboox, May 2021
Vittorio Mortarotti and Anush Hamzehian
According to the mapping made by UNESCO in 2010 for the Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 250 languages have disappeared in the last fifty years and 3,000 are currently in danger.
Languages disappear at a speed that is unprecedented in the history of humanity.
A language dies bringing with it a precise knowledge of the environment that it has named for centuries: plants, animals, diseases, religion. Along with a language, a conception and a vision of the world disappear forever.
Yonaguni is a small piece of land surfaced from the sea, far from everything and beaten by the strongest currents of the Pacific Ocean. There are no more than a thousand people living on the island, few of whom still speak the Dunan.
Dunan is a Severely Endangered Language: in a few years it will no longer exist and it will be definitely forgotten.
Together with the language the whole universe of Yonaguni is dissolving. On the island there is no work, there are no high schools, there is no future; the families abandon it, the elderly people die.
L’Isola aims to collect the last images and the last sounds, the last glimpses of a fading community.
L’Isola is a project by Anush Hamzehian and Vittorio Mortarotti and it consists of a sound installation, a multi-channel audio-video installation and the publication of two volumes: the art-book L’Isola and the Dunan-English dictionary.
The project is supported by Fotografia Europea and CAP - Centre d'art de Saint-Fons (France) in collaboration with the Department of Asian and North African Studies at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.
L’Isola will be exhibited at the Festival Fotografia Europea of Reggio Emilia 2021.
Anush Hamzehian and Vittorio Mortarotti have always dedicated their work to geographical and social marginality. In recent years they have carried out projects in Belarus, Japan, Armenia and the United States with political refugees, former miners, prostitutes, survivors of the tsunami and the Balkan wars.
Their video-photographic installations have been exhibited, among others, at the Blueproject Foundation in Barcelona, the Casino Luxembourg, the Alberto Peola Gallery in Turin and the Foto Forum in Bolzano. With the Eden project they won the Leica Prize at the Biennale Images in Vevey and the Level Zero prize at Art Verona, which led them to exhibit at MAXXI in Rome.
They also published art books. In 2015 The First Day of Good Weather was among the finalists for The First Book Award in London while Most Were Silent was selected for the LUMA Rencontres d’Arles Dummy Award in 2018.
Hamzehian and Mortarotti’s artistic activity is complemented by their documentary work. In 2016 the film L’Académie de la Folie was awarded the Étoile de la Scam while in 2018 their feature film Monsieur Kubota, a documentary about the search for immortality co-produced by France 2, was released.