Anouk Kruithof - 'Universal Tongue'
© Anouk Kruithof
Wed. 27.01.2021 - Sun. 07.03.2021

Anouk Kruithof

'Universal Tongue'
Wed 27.01. 2021
Sun 07.03. 2021
  • Wed 27.01. 2021
    Sun 07.03. 2021

An exploration of dance through the jungle of the internet

Approximately 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every hour, and a lot of these videos are of people dancing. People twerking, popping, moonwalking or doing the Macarena – in short, every dance style you can think of from around the (digital) world. Enter visual artist Anouk Kruithof, who’s fascinated by dance as a form of self-expression and empowerment. She has spliced thousands of these different dance styles together into a 4-hour, 8-channel video installation: ‘Universal Tongue’. That’s 32 hours of footage across 8 screens.

Kruithof explores how dance has developed throughout history as part of our global media culture and how dance manifests online on platforms like YouTube and Instagram. In ‘Universal Tongue’ she weaves together found footage to reflect on the different ways that dance acts as a universal language. A language that is defined and used by different subcultures and spread virally across intercultural, international and intercontinental borders.

Together with a broad and representative research team of 50 people from across the globe, Anouk Kruithof casts a spotlight on how dance, though its roots may be local, can enchant us on a global scale. ‘Universal Tongue’ shows us in our natural habitat, online and offline; it looks at our era of non-stop connectedness and identifies within it our individuality and our (cultural) diversity. The goal? To visualise a more layered, inclusive world.

About ‘Universal Tongue’

‘Universal Tongue’ is a project by visual artist Anouk Kruithof. She collected over 8,800 dance videos from YouTube and Instagram, in collaboration with a team of 50 researchers from across the globe. Each researcher received a symbolic payment of one euro per supplied video. They also wrote a short text for each one about the dance style(s) appearing in their selected video. The total length of the found footage was no less than 250 hours. After the raw cut there was still 80 hours left over.

The final video installation consists of eight channels showing eight films lasting four hours each. There are 1,000 different dance styles on display in ‘Universal Tongue’. The photos, names and texts of the dance styles were turned into a sort of ‘danceclopedia’ and will soon be published in book form by the Ghent-based APE (Art Paper Editions). The book will be presented for the first time at Voo?uit in March 2021.


“‘Universal Tongue’ is a visual anthropology over the internet.”

Anouk Kruithof

We use services such as Youtube and Vimeo for videos and other media. To view this, you have to give permission to place cookies.


from Wed 27.01 till Sun 07.03 Concertzaal
Wednesday till Saturday - 14:00 till 22:00 / Sunday - 10:00 till 18:00
DAYLIFE / installation / expo 

Voo?uit is working with 30-minute time slots for ‘Universal Tongue’. A maximum of 10 people will be let in for each time slot. Use the unique code on your ticket to book an extra FREE ticket for a later date and time slot.


initiator, creator & producer: Anouk Kruithof - editor (chief): Ginta Vasermane (F.L.O.A.T) - editor (chief): Joep de Boer - editor (chief): Justin Swinburne - editor (rough cut): Maciej Mandraki - editor (rough cut): Duygu Atceken - editor (rough cut): Selma Hengeveld - editor soundtrack: Koen Nutters (MFK) - text editor (dance styles): Ula Kahul - social media manager: Rianne Zijl - website development: Peter Haynes - website design & screenshot photographie: Anouk Kruithof - photo Anouk: Laetitia Bica

‘Universal Tongue’ was commissioned by Cinekid for the 32nd edition of the festival, presented in Amsterdam in October 2018, and was supported by the Mondriaan Fund. 

'Universal Tongue' was created with footage that is published online with the 'Creative Common License'

With the support of Mondriaan Fonds


We use cookies and similar techniques to analyze the use of the website, to make it possible to display third-party content such as videos, and for various other applications. These cookies are also placed by third parties. By clicking “Yes, I accept”, you agree. If you do not agree, you can specify your preferences via the "Adjust settings" button.