SILENT SOUND (LIVE)
LIVE PERFORMANCE. 40 MINUTES (2006/2010)
Silent Sound began as a live performance at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool. It was presented during the 2006 Liverpool Biennial and commissioned by A Foundation. The live performance was presented again in 2010 at Middlesbrough Town Hall for the AV Festival.
Silent Sound is also presented as an ambisonic gallery installation. Initially as part of the opening programme at A Foundation’s new gallery in Liverpool, the piece has also been installed at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2007 and as part of Forsyth & Pollard’s major solo show PUBLICSFEAR at South London Gallery in 2011.
Inspired in part by Victorian entertainers Ira and William Davenport, who were famed for attempting to contact the the dead using their ‘spirit cabinet’, the live performance of Silent Sound features the artists seated within a soundproof cabinet, designed to echo the Davenport’s spirit cabinet. Together they repeat a spoken phrase, with their voices being fed into their Silent Sound machine where it is embedded silently into the live musical recital. The work features an original score created by J. Spaceman from the band Spiritualized.
SILENT SOUND CABINET BEING ERECTED AT ST. GEORGE’S HALL
A potent mix of art, music and psychological experimentation, Silent Sound also borrows techniques from the Victorian séance room and the pseudoscience of subliminal communication. The artists attempt to employ the audience’s mind, imagination and beliefs as a site for the work.
THE AUDIENCE LEAVING ST. GEORGE’S HALL, LIVERPOOL
The performance begins with an introductory address by Dr. Ciarán O’Keeffe, who is perhaps best known as the resident sceptic on Living TV’s ‘Most Haunted’. Dr. O’Keeffe also consulted on the many psychological aspects of this project. The artists brought together a substantial team to help realise the scale of their ambitions for Silent Sound, including sound engineer Charles Poulet and Andrew Bolton, an acoustic weapons expert formally employed by the Ministry of Defence, who together oversaw the technical aspects of the Silent Sound machine. Forsyth & Pollard’s machine and cabinet were fabricated by Manchester-based artist Noah Rose.
LIVERPOOL SOUNDCHECK WITH (L-R) ILSA COLSELL, JANE POLLARD, IAIN FORSYTH, RAJ PATEL (ARUP ACOUSTICS), CHARLES POULET, J. SPACEMAN, JOE ADAMS, THIGHPAULSANDRA, DR. CIARAN O’KEEFFE
A programme was given to each person attending the performance of SIlent Sound, including information about the project, an introduction by Forsyth & Pollard and a text by Ilsa Colsell. A slot in the back of the programme was designed to accommodate a compact disc, and the audience were each given a live recording of the performance they had just witnessed as they left. These items and many other visual elements relating to Silent Sound were designed by Chris Bigg, part of the legendary graphic design team v23.