French Non-Profit Creates First Interactive Sign-Language Lyric Video

March 27th, 2018: As seen on Archive (PDF)

Billy Read in the official video for ‘Unsilenced’; La Parole aux Sourds/YouTube 

A French non-profit aimed at bridging gaps between the hearing and deaf and hard of hearting communities has commissioned a gorgeous new take on the ‘lyric video‘ medium.

Citing the project as, “the first original song sung through sign language and dance,” La Parole aux Sourds (Translated: “A Microphone for the Deaf”) commissioned dancer Billy Read and electro-pop duo Haute for the interactive journey through the streets of Paris, dubbing the experience “Unsilenced.”

Shot entirely in black and white, users follow Read in a near fluid spin around the city, Reads hands and body manipulating the space around him amongst a civilization of faceless humans, his hands even bursting into flames at one point. Meanwhile, users have the power to “unsilence” him with their cursor to reveal hidden sign-language lyric subtext below.

Read stuck close to sign expressions that could cross variations in the language across the globe to deliver a pretty altruistic message for both those who can and cannot hear:

Unlock the world inside me
This isn’t just a song I need to sing
It’s a barrier we need to break

Speaking to AdAge, director Alban Coret explained, “The film is meant to be surreal. We wanted to show how strange it is when nobody speaks your language.”

There have been many landmark lyric videos over the years, i.e. Bob Dylan‘s channel-flippingLike a Rolling Stone” masterpiece, but this one will certainly have a special place right there amongst them.

Dig on the YouTube version below, and the full interactive version at the ‘Unsilenced‘ pop-up site, proper.