Whistling Language

Angelica Mesiti, The Calling, 2014, Three channel video, 348 x 202 cm, 35 min 26 sec, Courtesy of the Angelica Mesiti and Mark Gambino.

Angelica Mesiti, The Calling, 2014, Three channel video, 348 x 202 cm, 35 min 26 sec, Courtesy of Angelica Mesiti and Mark Gambino.

Technology has taken a dominant and sometimes overbearing place in our lives, impacting our ways of communication. However, in order to think about progress and the future it’s important to consider traditional methodologies and concerns.

Angelica Mesiti, through a video performance, reminds us that we can go beyond standardized chats, telephone calls and text messages to rediscover another way to communicate.

The Calling is a lively and intense representation of three communities, respectively established in the village of Kuskoy in Northern Turkey, the Island of Evia in Greece and the island of La Gomera in The Canary Island. The connection between all these communities is the whistling language.

The artist, through her 35 minutes video, brings new attention to a cultural tradition that hasn’t been altered by the time.
She wants to offer the spectator an abstract view of the content, contrasting with the anthropological view, usually provided by a general documentary.
In these communities, whistling languages have been able to maintain their originating and genuine nature, while expressing a revolution through the reshaping of their possible use. To face oblivion or disappearance, they have been able to enrich themselves by becoming tourist attractions and cultural artefacts.

The point of view provided by the camera is always calibrated, focusing the attention sometimes on a character, other times on a particular spot of the landscape.
The first part of the video represents the village of Kuskoy in Northern Turkey, the second narrates the Greek community in the Island of Evia. In doing so they show the way in which people communicate through their ‘bird language’ at distances while they are working, in a strong harmony with the nature and the environment. Subtitles provide translation of the sound.
The third part of the video, representing La Gomera community, shows another potential use of this communication tool through the documentation of classes in Spanish local schools.

As the artist pointed out, the communities were highly involved in the work and their final feedback and consultation to the project had been precious to make it become authentic.
The description given by the members of the community was useful to generate a realistic scenario. Moreover, their interest in sharing and spreading their traditional culture played a relevant role to make the final work become a positive exchange between them and the artist.

As such this effective and powerful way of communication becomes a challenge to the new technological communication tools that delineate our modern society.
The final goal for the artist is clear: beating and reshaping the current language by the visual art channel.