In response to Stay Hungry‘s ‘Capturing Spaces – Views on the In-between’, call for proposals, I created a piece of work titled In Silence; performed on Saturday 21st July 2018, in Lausitzer Platz, Berlin.
The work takes the ambient sound of the square monitored in real-time and plays it back – through headphones – to the work’s participants, listening individually or in pairs, sat beside the artist on a bench in the square. The sounds of the square are framed by and mingled with a recorded narrative (heard simultaneously by the audience, over their headphones).
"In Silence is a work about listening. It interweaves a spoken narrative about the importance of attending to the ambient sounds of the city with the act of doing just that. It is informed by John Cage’s ideas about the rewards of listening to the background noise of urban life and the rich complexity of silence.
In Silence takes as the starting-point for its narrative the character of Murke, the fictive protagonist of Heinrich Böll’s 1955 short story, Murke’s Collected Silences, who collects the neglected pauses and hesitations edited out from between the spoken words of radio programmes. Like Murke, the structure of In Silence’s narrative, punctuated by gaps, preoccupies itself with the power of the caesura or pause between words, between events to disclose to us what we normally overlook as we inhabit the city.
The recorded audio component of In Silence is not itself the work. It is the basis for a work, which requires the individual experience of the subject to complete it. Each participant completes the work differently each time the work is staged; creating with every iteration something different, since the prevailing ambient sounds always interact differently with the audio narrative, with unique consequences."