Languitecture is a study of the languages English, German, Spanish and Arabic. How is a language perceived in an acoustic sense and what socio-historic circumstances settle a language in a certain frequency range? The sound sculptures use movement of different materials to make specific characteristic of each language visible; e.g. the velocity, intonation, use of consonants, frequency range or the utilization of vocal cords, etc..

Languitecture is a year-long process to explore interconnections of the four mother-tongues Spanish, Arabic, English and German. The artists/musicians/writers send each other works and created new ones (Iterations) from the pieces they were given.

Languitecture Nadine Hattom, Marco Pando, Joe Hornby, Lisa Premke, Rawan Serhan, Eduardo Suarez



Original: Languitecture

Hards (German); 2016, 135x15x15cm, Ø 15-120cm; wood, motor, Arduino motor control

Scrapes(Arabic), 2016, 50x70x10cm; Sandpaper discs, wood, motors

Smooths (Spanish), 2016, 20x50x40cm; Paint brushes, metal plate, carpet, wood, motor

Highs (English), 2016, 41x41x10, ø 82-104cm;  Sawing blades, plastic coffee stirrers, motor








Original: Nadine’s “Sirocco/Shlūq/شلوق”

Iteration I: Flat Mountain, High Mountain

What I gathered from Nadine’s Original piece was that somehow language travels with landscape and also how it transforms from that. From her installation I used a photograph of a mountain to work with.

In some way I was struck by the image and the thought arose how original names of places often correlate to their physical presence. Thinking about my own work and research of languages I thought that there is quiet a similarity: because the name of eg a mountain correlates to what it would sound like if it could speak. A place is being named, trying to attribute all the qualities phonetically and when the landscape changes or the word travels, it becomes much more of a word-object and looses the phonetic connection to the place.

I created a mechanism with a sheet of paper that slowly rises up, forming a mountain with a (white) snow peak. When it slowly flattens out again, you can see the drawing of the actual mountain scape. There’s to versions.

Drawing on paper1: 48x77cm; Animation1: 00:10min; Drawing on paper2: 48x77cm; Animation2:  00:08min











Original: Joe; 1st Iteration: Rawan

2nd Iteration: Whispers

Joe’s Original dealt with the invisible transformations of language due to societal changes and human activities and Rawan’s iteration made a physical structure for those.

I thought that this is somehow an alteration due to language content/meaning necessity and quiet the opposite of my initial phonetic approach in which I wanted to look for something that is recognizable about each language without the formation of actual words in order to find the physical part of this complex language construction. So for me, whereas I initially looked at the whole structure, Joe and Rawan started from singular changes. I find that in both approaches the relationship between time and language was very important, meaning that the others also dealt with language as a living organism (speech), trying to freeze this constant morphing process. That reminded me of the Chinese whispers game: words or meanings changing from person to person.  To find out if language or the spoken word rhythms loose their local-specific intonation I was earlier trying to uncover if whispers are whispered universally alike. If you play the game in an unknown language, you’ll most likely understand the motive (eg. Urgent/scary/ funny/…) but not the content/message, though both of course can be mixed up and tampered with.

Prior to this iteration I was trying to make the frequency changes of sound waves visible in thread drawing, showing how a tone changes when it hits one or two surfaces. I took this physical starting point and used it with the language visualization of chinese whispers. I produced a series of thread drawings that try to make the games transformations (how language content changes) visible and also relates it to the transformations of sound waves reverberation (bouncing of materials/ surfaces –change/loss of frequencies). It plays with the idea of always needing at least two parties in what and how we perceive; what seems individually important enough to be passed on and how meanings of words can change through intonation and coloring of the words, intentionally or not.

5 thread drawings on newspaper; various sizes; 1 animation with sound, 2:02min

Sound wave drawing


Sound wave drawing

Original: 2nd Iteration: Nadine Hattom

3rd Iteration: Nesting

With Nadine’s book ‘The Bird’ that followed Marco’s ‘Animated Postcards’ I found the (visual) discussion about shapes and movements very exciting but I felt a little lost in translation (literally, cause it’s the 3rd iteration); for me, at this stage, the initial approach to language itself transformed into deciphering a visual language with widening vocabulary. 

In that way it is very interesting is that I can play or revise my last piece I sent to Nadine now with this iteration. I worked with thread drawings, experimenting with sounds, and the idea of Chinese whispers, changing the content, and Nadine’s ‘The Bird’ inspired me to abstract this thought and to develop this part of my language more.  Now I’m not showing perceiver and nor receiver, only shapes and lines, moving and creating audible gibberish that one has to concentrate to see a simple straight line moving.

Canvas, threads and motor (400mm x 500mm)

Original: 3nd Iteration: Joe Hornby

4th Iteration: Stutter

What I gathered from Joe’s last iteration piece ‘together’ was somehow the disassembling of a piece of music, or language, and by playing it all together the sentence or musical sense was recreated. 

The disassembling let me to relate this stuttering to the morsing principle and reminded me of how a communication system like speech or morsing is only serving it’s purpose if a repetitive efficient structure is maintained. Stuttering, which many belief stems from a need for repetition or security, is oddly enough very repetitive but contrary to morsing inefficient, because of the unnecessary parts being repeated. I remember in the secret language we used as kids, several syllables are repeated to conceal the actual word and the staccato rhythm always reminded me of morsing.

Because in Joe’s work each disassembled tune was not only one note, but rhythm as well, I thought of taking one apart even more, in a physical way, and create the arrhythmical rhythm through movement; like the seemingly arbitrarily rhythm/repetition of morsing. 

I separated a drum brush into single metal rods that tremble by the motors movement and hence beat the drumhead unrhythmically.

42cmx60cm; drumhead, metal rods, motor