Unspeak - Interactive Documentary

Words Are Weapons

Submarine Channel presents Unspeak, a brand-new interactive documentary investigating the manipulative power of language. Blending filmmaking, data, technology, and design, the story of Unspeak unfolds across a series of short films, data visualizations, and a participatory dictionary. Unspeak is based on British journalist Steven Poole’s intriguing book of the same name.

With its demands for sound-bytes and attention grabbing quotes, the media creates Unspeak. Rather than critically investigating terms coined by politicians, the media engines often indiscriminately hijack them.

Through a radical collage of archival footage, quotes, and Steven Poole’s own enlightening analyses, Unspeak critically and satirically reveals the unspoken messages and obscured meanings behind familiar media terms such as Weapons of Mass Destruction, File Sharing, Austerity Measures, Erectile Dysfunction, or the Dutch word Kopvoddentax.

Unspeak visualizes how language is manipulated to suit political agendas and the changing role and responsibility of the media. By tracing the history and incentives behind Unspeak terms, the documentary makes Unspeak framing visible to audiences and educates the public about this form of coded language that can be learned.

Tune in to the wealth of daily Unspeak talk, so that you’ll start seeing and hearing it everywhere. And then, perhaps, we can fight back.


Watch the trailer below


Submarine Channel Live event at EYE - Unspeak

Join us at 7:30 pm on June 20, 2013 for a preview of the upcoming iDoc Unspeak at our Submarine Channel Live event at the fabulous EYE film museum in Amsterdam. Special guests include Steven Poole and moderator Chris Keulemans.

More about Submarine Channel Live @ EYE



This introductory episode was supported by the Dutch Cultural Media Fund and The Netherlands Film Fund, a SubmarineChannel production in collaboration with VPRO

Submarine Channel is made possible with the financial support of
OC&W – Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen (Ministry of Culture, Education and Science), Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie (The Creative Industries Fund NL), and Gemeente Amsterdam: Dienst Maatschappelijk Ontwikkeling (The City of Amsterdam).