Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard

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Silent Sound, Liverpool

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Precious Little
The Weasel
History Will Repeat Itself


Silent Sound
Jerwood Space
Kate MacGarry
Anyone else isn't you
Everybody else is wrong
File under Sacred Music
A Rock 'N' Roll Suicide
The Kids are Alright
The Smiths is dead
Doing it for the kids
The World Won't Listen


Street: behind the cliche
Switch on the Power! Music For People
Surfing the Surface
Rhythm-a-Ning, Derry
Rhythm-a-Ning, Dublin
Viper Basel
Yugoslav Biennial
Far Away So Close
This Much is Certain
Artists Films About Music Culture
We're Coming To Take You Away, Hurrah!!
Shooting Live Artists
Modern Love in London
Modern Love in Düsseldorf
Century City
Kill Yr Idols
Double Life
New Contemporaries
Yerself is Steam
The Hanging Picnic



Empty view of The Blade Factory in Greenland Street
Entrance view of the installation in Greenland Street, Liverpool

Silent Sound will feature in the inaugral programme of a major new exhibition space, opening to coincide wih the Liverpool Biennial. In September 2006, A Foundation launches Greenland Street - three former industrial buildings in the heart of Liverpool's Baltic Triangle which have been transformed into one of the largest and most challenging exhibition spaces for contemporary art in the country.

Silent Sound is Forsyth and Pollard's most ambitious work to date, it is both a performance and an installation. On Thursday 14th September 2006 Forsyth and Pollard staged a uniquely emotive experience which explored the mind's susceptibility to subliminal suggestion. The performance took place in the Small Concert Hall in St. Geroge's Hall in Liverpool. In 1865 at St. George's Hall, Victorian entertainers The Davenport Brothers performed their public séance act to an audience desperately searching for a bridge between the living and the souls of the dead. Unused for over twenty years, the Small Concert Hall in St. George's Hall reopened to host Silent Sound and the artists performed on the same stage used by The Davenports.

Empty view of The Blade Factory in Greenland Street
The performance of Silent Sound in St. George's Hall
. Photo: Anne Worthington

During the performance, the artists were seated onstage inside a soundproof booth, inspired by The Davenport Brothers original 'Spirit Cabinet'. In unison, they repeated a single sentence throughout the hour-long event. Using their specially created machine this spoken statement was then embedded into a live music recital. The message was inaudible to the audience's ears, but transmitted subliminally to their subconscious.

Empty view of The Blade Factory in Greenland Street
Entrance view of the installation in Greenland Street, Liverpool

A day later, on 15th September, in Greenland Street the installation opened to the public. An ambisonic audio recording of the live performance was incorporated into a large-scale immersive installation specifically created by the artists to continue the event's exploration of the mind's potential receptiveness to suggestion.

Iain and Jane worked with FXV architect John Bell on the design of the installation. At the heart of the installation is a dark listening chamber, the Silent Sound machine is housed in an ante-chamber visible through a window. The live recording is played back across 12 hidden speakers and a sub-bass - the resulting sound is enormous. With the support of ARUP and Charles Poulet the sound in the chamber sonically recreates the 3D space of St. George's Hall inside the installation.

Empty view of The Blade Factory in Greenland Street
Iain and Jane inside the cabinet with the Silent Sound machine. Photo: Anne Worthington

The artists have joined forces with two uniquely talented collaborators. Jason Pierce, leader of the critically acclaimed band Spiritualized, has written the musical composition. Dr. Ciarán O'Keeffe, a leading authority in psychology and parapsychology from Liverpool Hope University also known for his media appearances on Living TV's 'Most Haunted', has worked closely with the artists to underpin a strategy combining modern scientific and pseudoscientific techniques to consume and physically affect the audience of the performance and the installation to create a deliberately highly charged situation.

Iain and Jane are worked with Chris Bigg and Vaughan Oliver at V23 on all of the graphics for the project. A live CD was presented to each audience member minutes after the performance and is also available from Greenland Street as a limited edition. There will also be a DVD featuring footage from the performance, a short documentary and interviews released in 2007.

Greenland Street view from the street
Greenland Street view from the street


Silent Sound
Greenland Street
67 Greenland Street
Liverpool L1 OBY
Tel +44 (0) 151 706 0600

15 September - 26 November 2006
Open Wed - Sunday 12.00 - 18.00
Late night Thursday until 20.00

For more information, visit the project web site:

For more information, visit the gallery web site:



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Project web site

Work in this show
Silent Sound

Related sites
Greenland Street
J Spaceman
Ciaran O'Keeffe
Charles Poulet
John Bell at FXV
Chris Bigg and Vaughan Oliver at V23
Noah Rose

Supported by

A Foundation
Wellcome Trust
Arts Council England
PRS Foundation for new music
Live Here Now


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