Kusunda Project at British Academy Summer Showcase

Reviving the Kusunda language – Fabrizio Galeazzi, StoryLab; Gayatri Parameswaran and Felix Gaedtke, NowHere Media

An interactive VR experience and a short film, co-created with the Kusunda community, which demonstrates the threat to heritage when a language becomes endangered — accompanied by a short video highlighting community project evaluation sessions in Nepal.

Exhibition Free and Open to the Public at the British Academy Summer Showcase, “a free festival of ideas for curious minds.”

Friday 17 June, 9am–3pm and 6–9pm
Saturday 18 June, 11am–5pm

The British Academy
10-11 Carlton House Terrace

For more information: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/events/british-academy-summer-showcase-2022/programme-exhibits/

More about the Kusunda Project:

This project adopts an interdisciplinary collaboration between academic researchers and artistic expression, aimed at exploring the integrated use of multimodal storytelling and immersive visualisation for the revitalisation of the endangered language and heritage of the Kusunda indigenous community in Nepal.

Audio-visual 2D formats, such as film, have played an important role in the documentation and archiving of intangible cultural heritage, including oral traditions, language and traditional art forms. The advent of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality begs an exploration into how these new formats may compare and contrast with existing audio-visual formats.

By evaluating two works – an interactive virtual reality experience and a short film about an endangered indigenous language in Nepal called Kusunda – this research offers an insight into the role of these new immersive technologies in creating emotional understanding of the subject at hand in comparison to film.

The VR interactive application, created by NowHere Media, invites users to speak the Kusunda endangered indigenous language by meeting its last speakers and guardians, a tribe of former hunter-gatherers in the forests of western Nepal, to highlight the importance of revitalising indigenous languages and heritage around the world that are at the brink of disappearance.