Project Description


When a language dies, it loses its last host, the body through which its syntax materializes.
A Language’s death is typically the outcome of a long attritional process.
Some of the causes include ecocide, a natural calamity like a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, ongoing wars, economic collapse, a relentless history of colonization, a devastating heartbreak or wildfires.
A linguicide is a linguistic suicide, a situation in which speakers of a language gradually let the social and economic forces of the present dictate the fate of their syntax.
When a syntax becomes obsolete and loses its last speakers, it is released into an energetic field in which time doesn’t apply but frequencies persist.


Now relax your tongue.

In a few sentences, describe the feelings or thoughts that arise when I say, “relax your tongue”.

Although I am using the imperative sense, you need not to do as I say. This score isn’t meant to be performed. If you perform this score, expect disappointment when you realize that the correspondence between words and the actions they designate is fictional.

When I say, “relax your tongue”, I mean: “In how much pain are you?”

Pain: in the sense “suffering inflicted as punishment for an offense”: from Old French peine, from Latin poenapenalty”, “retribution” “indemnification.”

On a spectrum ranging from utter vitality to total decay, where do you situate your language’s health?
In other words, how much pain do you have?

Find a system to quantify your pain that excludes numericals.

Calculate the ratio between the losses you have incurred and the physical pain you are feeling:
Who owns your debt? What is your pain paying for?

This score presupposes that at some point you experienced one or multiple rupture/s, a parting, a breakdown, an excruciating moment of dispossession (you were left without words).

Think of the intersection of your material conditions and your internal life: fear of war lodged in the chest, precarity stiffening your hips, the repressed somatically resurfacing. Some call the convergence between the external and internal world, trauma (an event imprinting itself on you, an immaterial incision).

Score from the Old Norse, skora, “make an incision”.

A traumatized language is at pains to find words expressing its pain.

Try pluralizing your pain. Don’t be fooled by its individual manifestations (“no one understands me”). Although singular, your pain is also collective, it belongs to a larger historical matrix you momentarily embody.

Find a language to describe the manifestation of the familial, patriarchal, and colonial histories expressed in your trauma.

Avoid growing attached to your trauma. Avoid using possessive pronouns (“my trauma this” “my trauma that”).

Spend all your money on infrared sauna sessions. Collect your sweat and your toxins. Make words out of them.

Remember the last time you said, “I can’t find my words”.

Describe in a foreign language what this loss provoked in you (what parts of your body did it bring into focus? How suffocating or alternatively liberating is the blur of wordlessness?)

Describe your symptoms before you can enjoy them.

Consider pain as information pointing to the inadequacy or your current language.

Consider pain as a language in formation. (What is your pain telling you?)

Consider pain as a form of orientation. (Where is your body taking you?)

Consider pain as the lack of words needed to describe your pain.

Search for a language that can sustain verbal scarcity or its opposite, logorrhea.

Familiarize yourself with different healing traditions: naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, iridology, holographic crystal therapies, sound therapy, craniosacral therapy, esogetic medicine. Take note of the lexicons they utilize, how X  helps unblock and support the flow of energy, how every frequency of light is a signal conveying specific information, how stagnation is at the root of all illnesses.

Search for a language you can imagine.

Imagine a language for your pain.

Imagine a language to heal your language.

Sleep in a temple like the Greeks. If too ill to get a temple, elect a proxy who can sleep in a temple on your behalf.

Expose yourself to the sunlight. Cure your condition with a color (red for anemia for example).

If the damage predates you, hand it over to the gods.

Reach for a syntax to communicate with your ancestors. Sleep, for example, is a healing language.

Record yourself talking in your sleep. Translate the language you use at night to the one you use during the day.

Say “mother tongue” in your mother tongue.

In the advent of the absence of a mother tongue, forgive your mother.

Let go of your cynicism for the word “healing”. Challenge the understanding of health as something you own and can pay for. Reckon with the fact that capitalism is the ultimate illness. That no healing can ever derive from its matrix. Think of a language to articulate these metabolic disorders.

Think of health as the opposite of wellness.

Think of the ways in which health is distributed; how it affects the poor, how it affects the rich.

Think of a language in which healing is divorced from capital. How would you say “healing divorced from capital” in such a language?

Think of health and illness as a single system, the same currency.

Think of another word for “think”.

Let go of the idea that your pain will subside.

Place your finger at the center of the crack splitting your tongue halfway.

Can you detect a beat?

Some say languages have no existence without people. Do not believe them.

Believe that you are made of light.

Expose your tongue to the sun.

Mirene Arsanios
New York, USA
19 Mai

commissioned by
Goethe-Institut Lebanon and 1000 Scores