Last Whispers - Oratorio for Vanishing Voices

Friday, June 14, 2019 - 8:00pm
Last Whispers
Last Whispers
Last Whispers

Ticket Information

Tickets: $25



Presented with Los Angeles County Museum of ARt and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

An immersive experience, Last Whispers - Oratorio for Vanishing Voices, Collapsing Universes & a Falling Tree is simultaneously a spatially-designed sound composition and film. Dedicated to the mass extinction of languages, the project was created by Lena Herzog and features sound design by award-winning sound designers Mark Mangini and Marco Capalbo. At an unprecedented speed, faster than the extinction of some species, our linguistic diversity—the very means by which we know ourselves—is eroding. Today, a majority of the world’s population speaks only 30 of the 7,000 languages remaining on earth. It is estimated that at least half of the currently spoken languages will have died by the end of this century. In fact, a language dies every two weeks. By definition, this loss occurs in silence, since silence is the very form of this extinction. Last Whispers is an invocation of that which has gone extinct and an incantation of those that are endangered.
Presented in surround sound under the stars, a chorus of spoken and sung extinct and endangered languages, punctuated by sounds of forest, wind and translated gravitational waves registered by LIGO, will envelope the audience, while black and white video and photography poetically link image and sound. All languages featured in this immersive oratorio are endangered or extinct. Prior to the oratorio, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will present a conversation about languages and native voices between Lena Herzog and W. Richard West, Jr., president and CEO of the Autry Museum of the American West, moderated by Paul Holdengräber, founding executive director, Onassis L.A.

A virtual reality seven-minute interpretation of the experience called Last Whispers VR: An Immersive Oratorio created by Lena Herzog and produced by the pioneers of VR at Emblematic Group will be presented the following day, on June 15, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), at The Study Center Space in the Art of the Americas Building throughout the day during museum hours.

Also on July 15 at LACMA, Michael Govan in Conversation with Lena Herzog will take place at 2:00 PM at the Bing Theater. LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan will speak with Lena Herzog about her practice and current project, Last Whispers. For more information on this free event, visit

Co-presented by UNESCO Atlas of World Languages in Danger. UNESCO has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigeneous Languages.

This event is part of IGNITE @ the FORD!, a series comprised of world-renowned contemporary artists whose work is thought-provoking and reflects the world in which we live. Proceeds benefit the Ford Theatre Foundation.