‘Quiet, too quiet, but not silent’ was commissioned by the cultural centre Conde Duque in Madrid, as part of a developmental programme of work intended to explore and propose additional performative approaches to and uses of its public spaces. The work expanded on aural and structural approaches initiated within the ongoing work 'What if everything we know is wrong?’ (Brookes, M; Casado, R; 2015) – to propose a reflective encounter with aural representations of a selected series of five otherwise inaccessible places around the world, built through the spatial organisation of fragments of captured sound only, within five adjacent vaults of the centre’s cellars.
‘Quiet, too quiet, but not silent’ expands new approaches to the spatial construction and animation of ambient sound in performance, and explores the generation of discursive and reflective social situations through that performance. The event of the work is shaped by the performers’ attempts to construct tangible aural representations of a series of other places – using only fragments of sound captured on 40 pocket dictaphones, and brief verbal narrations. And is realised amongst a crowd of unseated spectators within open and otherwise empty public spaces, the work being defined and structured by a located attempt to reconstruct the spatial and ambient aural qualities of one place, from collected fragments and details, within another place, where it would not otherwise be present.
Research questions include:
How might the key elements of a place’s aural ambient be mapped, captured, and reconstructed within another place?
In what ways might the careful spatial arrangement of such captured fragments allow a direct and navigable encounter with aspects or qualities of the place being reconstructed?
How might readily portable daily technologies enable such a reconstruction to be performed live and directly, without the need for any prior or additional technical infrastructure to be installed?
In what way might such a performed reconstruction highlight the absence or otherwise inaccessibility of the place being evoked, and refresh perspective or attentiveness to the actual and present?
How might the artistic act and event of such a performed reconstruction be used to open and sustain reflective social situations and considerations of place?