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Exhibition View at Nuuk Lokalmuseum, Picture by Emile Barret, Hors Pistes Nuuk 2017
Exhibition View at Nuuk Lokalmuseum, Picture by Emile Barret, Hors Pistes Nuuk 2017

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drift tongue

Nuuk, Greenland – July-August 2017

In collaboration with Clément Faydit & Alexandros Simopoulos

They dwell in the interstices of the city and its environment, appearing and fading, interacting with or missing each other. They built their language with rocks.

Day dawns.

In this space, multiple characters – living and inanimate, elements or materials – perform. Light, voices, hands, stones, peoples, smells. We meld with their everyday, and night, stories and the memories they hold and shared.

Originally, the Greenlandic language was solely oral, hinging on transmission. Words floated, open and unrestricted. Invisible. Ephemeral. The spoken straddled the oracular and the vernacular. Our unforeseen relation to this descriptive and poetic language led us to develop non-linear narratives that hint at the potential expansion for meaning of orality, non-verbal communication and gestures. In forms that are discontinuous and multi-layered, hybrids of reality and fiction, drift tongue reflects this exploration. Informed by our experience in Nuuk, it is a project in the making: a speculative editorial and readable object, spanning several media and prone to unfold into the space. Such improvised variations relate to the musicality and rhythm inherent to storytelling – in general, and to the Greenlandic language – in particular. Mirroring expression, drift tongue is punctuated by repetition, fermata and intervals, figments, associative principles, authenticity and imprecision. Beyond that, it also relates to the thin border and fragile balance between the visible and the unseen, the spoken and the unvoiced.

Poised, light, voices, hands, stones, peoples, smells rest. In the complicity offered by silence, their stories and memories sediment at a slow pace. These traces are left on the edge for observation and sensory perception, for fiction and imagination. We drift.

Night falls.

They dwell in the interstices of the city and its environment, appearing and fading, interacting with or missing each other. Their voices blow through the rocks.


About the residency project: "Greenland is an island with limited natural resources and a harsh climate. The local artisanal techniques take the surrounding geographical constraints into account and the Inuit culture is deeply connected to its land. The craftsmen find their inspiration in nature and work with materials such as stone, wood, soil, wool, skin, and bones of hunted animals. Altered during the last century by the various exchanges with the Western regions, Inuit traditions are being transformed with globalisation. If they were essential for survival, fishing and hunting practices are less and less used. This gradual disappearance endangers the related craft techniques, such as animal skin transformation or traditional kayak making. In the meantime, new techniques are being introduced and absorbed, such as embroidery, beadwork, or ceramic. With its third residency “Nuuk 2017”, Hors Pistes aims to initiate encounters with Greenlandic culture, replace human exchanges at the heart of the creative processes, and propose new applications to traditional craft techniques. While the experimentations, prototypes and objects – all resulting from the researches conducted during the residency – embody the spirit of each encounters, the exhibition [at the Lokalmuseum] also shares stories – narrated by an editorial team – that emerged from the rich creative contexts in which the participants evolved." Hors Pistes team

Pictures from the show displaying works in progress by the editorial team.

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