Līndõd virgtimi / Waking the birds
Video Waking the Birds was produced as part of the research for The First to Leave, a theatrical performance co-authored with a group of artists from Latvia and Estonia: Valters Sīlis, Kārlis Krūmiņš, Joanna Kalm, Epp Kubu, Karolin Poska, Toms Auniņš, Austra Hauks.
Waking the Birds is a documentation of a series of public interventions Norman directed in Latvia. In the video, she and Epp Kubu sing a Livonian traditional song “Waking the Birds” in the villages that were historically inhabited by Livonians. The local people’s reactions to the song reveal the history and the results of cultural marginalization of Livonians whose language is nearly extinct by today.
With her interest in folklore as an important tool of nation-building, Norman’s work relates to a larger discussion about the notion of “cultural security”. Given that Estonia and Latvia are small nations of 1,3 million and 2 million inhabitants, a concern for the preservation of the national language and culture is commonplace today. Ironically, despite a history of being subjected to colonization and cultural marginalization by foreign powers, having achieved their national sovereignty, Estonian and Latvian rulers themselves used similar tools to marginalize other smaller cultural groups in their territories.