Espen Sommer Eide – Selected Works

Espen Sommer Eide – artist/composer

Language Memory started out as a project digitizing the skolt sámi dictionary for an art in public spaces - installation built in the foajé of the Skolt sámi museum in Neiden, north-east Norway. 

Basically the artwork consists of a screen and a button. When the visitors press the button, a video of a local Skolt sámi representative is shown. He or she reads one word from the dictionary back to the visitor. Approximately 6000 words have been recorded and sorted in a database combined with dictionary data. One reader per letter of the alphabet. 

This is an internet version of this project, that will evolve into different forms over the next years.

The tools developed will be used in other settings, with other endangered languages, in cooperation with the linguistic departments on various institutions. The material collected will also be stored as a part of the Dobes-archive for endangered languages ( in Holland.

The work was created by artist and musician Espen Sommer Eide.

The people who contributed to the making of this work are:

All the great Skolt Sámi Readers that were willing to sit still reading words for hours in difficult conditions (mosquitoes!).

Honna Havas, head of the Skolt Sámi Museum that also helped out dealing with all the logistics and contacts and as interpreter on the journey. 

Michael Riessler, Institut für Vergleichende Germanische Philologie und Skandinavistik, Freiburg, for help building the database and translations, and all questions about linguistics.

Lena Terhart, Humbolt Universität, Berlin for translations into English.

BEK, Bergen Center of Electronic Arts for hosting the video-archive and webpage.

The work has been supported financially by KORO, Norsk Kulturråd and ABM-utvikling.


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