Is a collaborative experiment, an open ongoing project, where I am asking people from a different artistic fields
to create silence. I am choosing the artists by this condition: they should be scholars in their field and already graduated.
And because it is a very open experiment, my assignment seems to be very simple: How they would create silence by tools/skills that they are using for expression in their profession. There are no other restrictions. I am just interested
how people perceive silence from various point of views.
Silence in the body
The question that kept my mind busy for a quite long time was, if our body can ever become silent. When it comes to all physical processes, I would say no, never until we are alive. However, there are moments when we feel that our body becomes very calm, almost silent. Most of us know this experience as a state directly before the deep sleep comes. Just some small impulses over all our body left, and as our relaxation deepens, muscles loosen and nerve transmission changes. This produces a very calm and light feeling in the body. You feel very still and somewhat divorced from the body. However is it possible to achieve such a state in a slow movement? In dance? Thanks to dancer Lukas van Buuren for help and De Kaping for the space.
How I would play silence
When it comes to silence I could not skip such a different way of expression as only musicians can have. I was simply wondering how they perceive silence or how they define it. Particularly my interest was focused on the way how musician would perform silence with his instrument. Here you can see and hear a play of Hugo Sips – guitar player from Edison Effect (indie-synthpop band from Utrecht, NL).
The chosen location, big empty warehouse, has meant to emphasize play of echoes and manifest a specific characteristic of sound that each space can possess.
There is nothing to hear.
When I imagine silence the first that comes to my mind is winter,
when everything is calm. There is no wind and it’s freezing outside.
And from chimneys smoke rises straight. Everything sleeps.
There is nothing to hear.
How to compose silence?
I have never conceived silence as an absolute, but rather as a state of mind.
Normally when I work on my music I need silence, however it´s extremely difficult to get it in the degree I wish. There is a car passing by, someone screams on the street or something unexpected happens, like the light going off. Even when my mind is completely silent, I often hear some high frequence sounding as a background.
So in the end I think that silence has less to do with the absence of sound than with a context that allows us having mental space to observe and go through our thoughts uniterruptedly.
If you ask me how I would compose silence, I would say: I would write a music that in it´s own nature doesn´t atract my attention. Music that is in essence a background. How would I manage that? By creating a flow of sound which is free of unexpected events and doesn´t create expectations, so that the mind can be free of a tension-release situation. For the sake of this, any construction that relies on rhethoric and narration is unrecommended. A certain timelessness should be acquainted.
My music is very far away from creating such senstions and relies much more on narrative and tensional elements, thus it would be a complete challenging situation to be asked to compose silence. I think this task was a good opportunity for thinking about it.