Unspeak - Interactive Documentary

Words Are Weapons

Unspeak is an 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

On June 20, 2013, we organized a preview of the Unspeak at the EYE film museum in Amsterdam. Special guests include Steven Poole. Moderated by Chris Keulemans.
More about Submarine Channel Live @ EYE

Submarine Channel Live event at EYE - Unspeak



The introductory episode of Unspeak was supported by the Dutch Cultural Media Fund and The Netherlands Film Fund, a Submarine Channel production in collaboration with VPRO.



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  3. Felipe Cardona says on September 18, 2015:

    I’d like to show you our project called INTERCOLABDOC:
    the initial interactive doc is in Rotterdam, but there are docs from New Zealand, USA and Colombia. The whole project was coordinated in Colombia.
    @fluipe (twitter)

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