Lân fan Taal – Land of Language

An interview with Siart Smit, the director of Lân fan Taal project, will give us an understanding in how this project will add a new quality to Leeuwarden by creating an ideal world of language, where all the languages come together. “Lân fan taal is like an open air museum with a lot of different things to do from high art to music festivals and everything in between.”

By: Virág Zsombok

What is the Lân fan taal project exactly?
,,Lân fan taal is one of the big projects of the Leeuwarden 2018 program. The project is not only special because it is running during the whole 2018, but also because it blurs the boundaries within modern societies and shows us a way to handle and embrace the diversity of different languages.”

How do you incorporate language in the project?
,,Language is a very essential aspect of our every day life but it is also a difficult subject to build a whole project around since it is something intangible. We found it important to make the message of this project personal. We want people to join, express themselves, donate their language to Lân fan taal and to experience different kind of languages. One language is dominant in the project: Frisian, the mother tongue of the Frisian people. Another prominent language is sign language, as deaf people will be working in the temporary language café in the Prinsentuin park so the visitors will have to use sign language (or something that functions as such) if they want to order something.”

How does the project work?
,,The project has three layers. The first layer is present night and day: we use the city as a canvas. For example, we put language on buildings, we have 9 installations where you can experience languages and different language objects in the Prinsentuin like floating poem. In the second layer we have the exhibitions, the buildings OBE and Tresoar Museum, and also temporary pavilions you can visit every day. The third layer is about activities and festivals on certain days and times. You can think of performances of (spoken word) artists, video mapping at the Oldehove tower, and music festivals. The project is for all age groups and almost everything is for free.”

Is the building at the Oldehoofsterkerkhof part of the Lân fan taal project?
,,Yes. The building is called OBE. It is a visitor centre and the centre of the Lân fan Taal project. Furthermore, it is also a place for language, literature, different exhibitions, performances and debates. When you enter the building you get information about the project, about the various activities and daily programs it offers. Then you experience the installations and art created by Tim Etchells. He is an well-known artist from London, who is making you aware of the meaning of language in everything you do. When you leave OBE you are reset to enjoy the rest of the Lân fan Taal.”