La Loko was formed in 2003, and since then we have used Esperanto as a hypothetical space in which we analyse the world of business and popular culture—things one usually expects to be administrated in English. In this way we try to lay bare the grammar of phenomena like, for instance, television situation comedy and fast-food chains.

During our work, we have become increasingly interested in Esperanto itself, the culture of its speakers, and the way it is perceived by people who do not speak it. Basically, people who speak Esperanto cannot understand why not everyone wants to speak it. And most people who do not speak it, cannot understand why anyone would want to bother learning it.

When Esperanto was launched it seemed to hold a promise for the future, but since the end of the Second World War this promise appears to have lost its attractiveness. This has of course coincided with the spread of English and Anglo-Saxon culture. In the system of English-speaking globalism, Esperanto simply does not seem to make sense. As we all learn English, we become members of an English-speaking global culture. The back-side of this globalism is a homogenisation of life forms, and anything that is not English-speaking becomes an other—something strange, unfamiliar, and thereby, threatening. Thus one often encounters violent arguments and prejudice against Esperanto.

As visual artists we are interested in how the image of Esperanto can be changed. When people argue for Esperanto, the focus is usually on rational arguments. These seem to work only to a limited extent. Questions about language are questions about identity and thus charged with emotions. Emotional arguments are what to a large degree keep the economy going. They are used to sell anything from Porsche sports cars to bottles of Coke. In La Loko’s campaign to re-launch Esperanto we will apply strategies of positioning, branding and marketing through collaborations with leading experts in the communicative field.

Olof & Daniel