In the spirit of the holiday season, Moët & Chandon is hosting a series of global celebrations in more than 20 cities around the world, bringing people together in celebration of connection and diversity. Of all cities, New York City in particular has a long-standing relationship with the Maison. As a hallmark of the occasion, Moët & Chandon has commissioned a public sculpture, “Your Voices” by British contemporary artist Es Devlin, installed on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza as a celebration of cultural connection in the most linguistically diverse place on the planet, New York, where over 700 languages are currently spoken.
The kinetic sculpture is formed of 700 glowing cords expressing the 700 languages currently spoken in New York City, which are tensioned between a series of structural arcs, enveloping visitors within a revolving illuminated network as it rotates north, south, east and west through a multilingual soundscape which interweaves languages drawn from all over the city: from Algerian Arabic, Alsation, Azeri and Ashanti to Zapotec, Zarma and Zulu.
The work responds to anthropologist Wade Davis’s observation: ‘Every language is an old growth forest of the mind, a watershed of thought, an entire ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.’
As the sculpture revolves, it acts as a lens between the viewer and their surroundings. The viewer’s perspective is spliced and framed by the shifting strands of the sculpture as it turns, evoking the way our perspectives are enriched and shaped by experiencing the linguistic structures and identities of others, amidst a soundscape composed by the contemporary composers, Polyphonia, in which the powerful text from EM Forster’s 1910 novel Howards End has been translated into multiple overlaid languages: “Only connect, and live in fragments no longer.”
Every language is a vast library of cultural, historical, and biological knowledge gathered over centuries and New York City is a living linguistic library. The luminous harmonics of this work aim to draw our attention to the complex beauty of New York’s linguistic diversity and celebrate its vital role in the resilience and civic sustainability of the city and its future. The work has been made in association with the Endangered Language Alliance. Their interactive map details every language and the location of its speakers within the city.
On select evenings at 6:00 pm, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts curates a series of New York-based choral groups to perform live from within the sculpture. Each choir represents the vast range of unique voices and languages of this special city.
Commissioned by Moët & Chandon, with performances curated by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
December 6: Cardinal Hayes Singers, The Jalopy Chorus, and the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus
December 9: Cardinal Hayes Singers, The Jalopy Chorus, and the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus
December 10: Schiller Institute NYC Chorus, Ukrainian Village Voices, and the Cardinal Hayes Singers
December 11: Cardinal Hayes Singers, Our Chorus NYC, and the Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir
December 16: Ukrainian Village Voices, Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir, and Our Chorus NYC
December 17: Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir, The Jalopy Chorus, and Our Chorus NYC
December 18: Ukrainian Village Voices, Our Chorus NYC, and the Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir