CONVERSATIONS WITH SILENCE
Instant film and ink, 72 × 85.6 mm
‘to learn how to perform simple activities such as: to make a sound, to say a word, to pause, to be silent.’ (Trinh T. Minh-ha)
Since 2018 I have been exploring silence as a means of communication and a form of resistance through series of images, writings, and performative reading/writing workshops.
I am interested in their invisible presences, their sites, their qualities, their possibilities and impossibilities; the many ways we encounter and live them in the now and here.
We know that there is no such thing as absolute silence. And we can imagine that absence is also not absolute. There is no language without silence, perhaps there is also no community without absence.
How do we make sense of our silences? How do we learn to speak with, to and nearby them? What ways of speaking, writing, being, doing, looking and performing will get us closer to the unseen, unheard, unknown and unthought? How do we meet it? And we should not forget that there is also a value in secrets, staying in the dark, not coming out into the light and remaining opaque, impenetrable, refusing, not participating. We need obscurity and resistance as much as presence, light and voice.
The real issue around silence is to learn to unravel the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion that operate in daily life and to look for knowledges and insights in the gaps left by their operation. How to open the silences that surround us even a little, how to let them speak without undoing them?
Your silence will not protect you, said Audre Lorde. We return home to our silences, said Trinh T. Minh-ha. We live between these silences and many others, of refusal and resistance, but also of failure and futility.
I am interested in all these silences and others, in minor accomplishments and unfinished time, in various forms of not- and un-doing. How can we think about the measures of time we spend in this non-production? How can it become a practice? How can not-knowing and not-speaking (being excluded from knowledge and speech, not heard, not considered relevant) become unknowing and unspeaking, alternative forms of knowing?