Georgia Munnik
georgia munnik

du mah heures pah maj

'du mah heures pah maj', 2016, site-specic performance, Arctic Moving Image and Film Festival.


‘taal-eh’ is a linguistic disease, triggered when a speaking subject is confronted with a lie on which their linguistic and civic identity is based.

When the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves no longer make any sense, we can experience a permanent misrecognition of ourselves, resulting in either depression, psychosis or suicide.

Alternatively, the brain will ‘blink’ and shift gears, so to speak, over to taal-eh. From this point on, taal-eh will speak the speaker and the speaker will no longer be in control of their language.


For this project, I continued to work with the taal-eh vocabulary, developing it into an apparently ‘functioning language’. The concept for ‘du mah heures pah maj’ is based on a science fiction narrative, inspired by Samuel Delaney's Babel 17 in which an alien dialect is revealed to have existed, secretly, within the Norwegian language for the last two centuries. The alien dialect was discovered through it’s speakers who appeared to be possessed by the language - unable to speak any language except for taal-eh (13) ---->

I then plotted a route through the city of Harstad, taking note of landmarks and other obscure architectural and advertising features in the central city and industrial areas (11). I made reference to some of these locations through drawings, which were featured in the final video. I hired a minibus and driver. I also hired North Norwegian-speaking actors, intended to either be hidden actors during the performance or security guards. ---->

The films that were played for each viewer were simulations of instruction videos on airplanes. Each passenger had a shared screen and their own set of headpones. My filmed actors spoke their lines for passengers (14), in between intervals of ambient music, silence, a ‘screensaver’ simulation and drawings. The minibus trip was timed with the content of the videos. The hidden actors I hired would, at random points in the trip, suddenly start speaking lines of taal-eh out loud, mimicking the actions of actors and drawings in the film. ---->

I started with the process of writing taal-eh into an apparently functioning language, which my Scandinavian-speaking viewers would, at first glance, recognise as their own. I hired art students, who were native Danish, Swedish and Norwegian-speaking,respectively, to be recorded speaking taal-eh. They were initially presented with the text and could make their own interpretation of how to read it, this session was recorded (10). They were then played back their own speech during filming, which they had to mimic. Essentially, however they read the script the first time became the rules of the language's proliferation ---->

The final performance was a 20 minute minibus ride, which departed from the local cinema where the festival took place. One of my guards silently selected passengers to board the minibus (only nine passengers were allowed per trip) over a nine minute period. The other security guard drove with us for each trip. The interior of the minibus was lit with radiant blue light while the selected passengers waited inside the minibus before it’s final departure. The interior was also filled with car air fresheners, which were white, shaped like trees and the scent of pine. ---->

At the end of the trip, the minibus stopped at another location to where we started the trip, the security guard onboard opened the door and touched each exiting passenger with rose geranium essential oil. ---->

I also developed an orthography for taal-eh based on my drawings. The orthography is not translatable without given references (15). The orthography was used for the programme for Arctic Film and Moving Image Festival and it was supplemented with a ‘Norwegian’ text, written in my broken Norwegian. Readers would have to translate the symbols themselves based on the information I had given them (12).