What is the project?
The Rhizome of Babel is a digital platform that re-examines the biblical tale of the Tower of Babel from an anti-imperialist and ecological perspective.
The project sees in the original story’s valorization of a unified language evidence of imperialist conquest and epistemicide (the destruction of indigenous knowledge systems and languages).
The installation envisions the abundance and diversity of human languages – an ecosystem in its own right – as an alternative vision of prosperity that privileges biodiversity over monoculture, opacity over transparency, relationality over hierarchy.
To reconceptualize how we conceive of and understand language, we will be engaging in biomimicry. Instead of a tower, what is aspired to here is a rhizomatic network (similar to a root system, but further decentralized) that stretches and expands sideways, that embraces and respects incommensurability, that asks that we develop new ways of understanding one another.
How will it work?
The final product will be an interactive audio-visual environment in Mozilla Hubs that explores the “Tower of Babel” story through decentralized manner that troubles the hubris of “civilization” (colonialism).
The digital environment(s) will feature one or multiple verbal prompts around which we are collecting audio of different translations of the same phrase(s).
When integrated back into Hubs, the audience will be able to navigate the spaces and engage with the audio repository and other participants in real time, gathering and contributing to language as a living organism.