17 × 10 cm, 2008 p, ills colour, paperback
screenshot-photography & editing: Anouk Kruithof
text editing: Ula Kahul
design: Jurgen Maelfeyt
edition of 500
‘Universal Tongue’ celebrates the great diversity of the global dance kaleidoscope in the era of the Internet. It was born from visual artist Anouk Kruithof’s fascination with dance videos distributed online as a representation of self-expression, cultural identity, empowerment and fun.
In collaboration with a team of 50 researchers from across the globe, she sourced over 8800 dance videos online, which were edited down to a 1000 unique dance styles that she blended into a dynamic 8 channel video installation with a four hour duration, accompanied by a unifying soundtrack. The researchers provided a short text for each dance style presented in their found videos. These 1000 edited texts combined with screenshots taken from the videos introduce the origin, background and meaning of the dance styles. Et voilà! this ‘dancyclopedia’ through the jungle of the Internet was born!
This book shows how dance can be a way of knowing about the world. It is by no means exclusive, final, or academic. It is a statement. Organized in alphabetical order by the first letter of each dance style, it confirms the horizontality of Universal Tongue, by erasing typical categories of the world order, such as country, continent, or culture. Instead, it points us towards a more inclusive world with a limitless exchange—a world where simply everyone is a dancer.