Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Well heres goes the first post, about three months too late. ouch! Sorry to those of you who have been waiting a while to see some documentation and stuff about the show, we can understand, and we are both appreciative of your patience. Since the show finished in early June, times have been extremely busy with rolling projects and other commitments that we've pretty much sat on top of a lot of work, pictures and video footage of the exhibition. That alone was a task! As you can see, we cant reveal our faces, were fully silent now.

So whats going to go up are some documents from the show so that you can build a picture of what happened, how it happened and what questions arose from the original ruminations on silence. It has by no means been a silent process, receiving over a hundred individual contributions by over 80 artists who commented about something which generates more noise than silence by its' makers. Therein, we have upcoming video, text, pictures and work from the show for you all see what happened, and if you contributed, took part of.

The text for the show:

then the Silence Increased

silence is more than just the absence of sound.... or is it?
and even then - it is not silent....
does silent actually exist?
as long as there is energy there is sound ... it doesn't matter if it is audible or not .... or does it matter?

"Then the silence increased. As we listened to the last faint prayer of the old canal and the crumbling of the bones of the moribund palaces with their green growth of beard, suddenly the hungry automobiles roared beneath our windows." 1909 it was when F.T. Marinetti wrote the Futurist Manifesto from which the quote that inspired the title of this exhibition is taken.
The "silent piece", better known as 4:33 written by John Cage was first performed in 1952. In this piece Cage instructed the performer NOT to play his instrument thus drawing the attention of the audience to the present ambient sounds of the environment in which the performance takes place. Once this attention is raised it becomes obvious that Cages' piece, of course, is not silent. The performer might not create sound but there is a cacaphony of creaking seats, coughing "listeners" and inside and outside noises....

So, what is silence and what is it that about silence that fascinates artists - and why, "Noise has lost its power to offend. Silence hasn't" as D. Warburton wrote in 2001 in The Wire....
Sound artists Ben Gwilliam and Helmut Lemke have been commissioned to curate the exhibition project then the Silence Increased at the Chapman Gallery / Salford. They contacted as many musicians and sound artists as possible asking them to submit brief statements, quotes, opinions, anecdotes, memories, images about silence via email.
The response was astonishing, exciting and beautiful. Artists from all over the world have replied with their comments. They have sent statements, anecdotes, photos, quotes from others and stories.

Whether or not their responses to the call for submissions increased the silence is debatable but it demonstrates the increased debate about silence among artists who are concerned with sound. This collection has resulted in a multilingual, heterogeneous symphony that is not at all silent ... or maybe it is!

The exhibition gives an insight into the importance of silence in contemporary sound art and music, revealing personal approaches and philosophical statements.
Just as the Silence increases so will the exhibition. Contributions will be added as they arrive. The final deadline is in the closing minutes of the show.

Ben Gwilliam & Helmut Lemke

May 2007

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