Phenakistoscope Vocabulary

Phenakistoscope Vocabulary is one of several projects created by Italian researchers aiming to disseminate the traditional Griko, an endangered language in the 21st century, to new generations.

The educational boxes attempt to translate into images three Griko words that have no Italian or English equivalent. This is a frequent issue, as Griko words often describe actions, whereas Italian and English words express concepts.

The boxes were modeled on the phenakistoscopes, tools dating back to the 19th century that were the precursors of cinema. They translate three words representing specific actions: kuvarìtula – a worm that curls in on itself, kuppo – the action of bringing five fingers together, and pantanikula – a baby’s somersault.

Materials

multi-layered wood
cardboard
LED
small engine

Ethnographers

Lucilla Calogero
Valentina Lamantia
Samuel Mele

Sources

Antonio Greco

2025

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