Music of Silence
MUSIC OF SILENCE Concerts are improvised concerts where Silence not only takes place but in addition where Silence itself is composing a language of sound.
How does the present moment sound in our hearts when a tangible SILENCE is the starting point; and what kind of singing arises out of tones due to the extension of the presence of SILENCE?
For many years, working with music and vocal performance for me as a singer has been first of all a dialogue with SILENCE – and dealing with collages, interweaving texts and contexts with each other; listening, perceiving and vocalizing the inaudible movements and thoughts traveling between different moments of time. The contents of many of my performances have dealt with contemporary or historical events.
In MUSIC OF SILENCE Concerts I lend my voice to the occurance of Silence in a very pure and concentrated manner. These concerts can be a platform or carrier for encounters with structuring, regulating, healing and intertwining facets of Silence. It is this sound and the language of music that enables a synchronization with Silence.
“Applied Silence“ is a term used to describe a performance art which deals with creating both spaces and contexts allowing SILENCE to be experienced.
Originating in the term of Applied Art, the creative term of “Applied Silence“ also encompasses many forms of everyday situations and designs of environments.
A performance of “Applied Silence“ is not merely about techniques and statements but rather embraces the freedom to leave out techniques and methods of interpretation.
By putting SILENCE to the core of the artistic form, the direction is at the same time also changed from performing to listening and therefore performance serves as a membrane.
“Applied Silence“ can subsequently be viewed as an artistic mode of perception where the necessity of SILENCE in Art can provide an answer to contemporary life.
Space of Silence
For the design of an open Space of Silence as an architecture or sculpture of Applied Silence, dedicated to encounters with Silence, we have been looking for a suitable church-/building in Bonn and the surrounding area, basically since 2020. Topicality and networking potential of this idea have been proven in previous research and project work throughout the year, but aswell the limitation of possibilities to create this space, increased not only by force of pandemic circumstances. This mirrors also the difficulty to create spaces free of Agenda in the world, and free for whatever it is that SILENCE would be up to, wherever we dedicate space to really encounter this essential quality.
The world in digitization trend and humanity’s current loss of being in touch with the environment bring home to us the great relevance of open, analog rooms of encounter, that are dedicated to the quality of a living, creative presence of Silence, and becoming spaces of a practical, artistic and intercultural reference to regenerative still points and pauses of reflection and perception, without engrossing this spiritually. Therefore, my artistic concern still focusses on re-opening perception spaces that are getting lost – in answer to the events of the day and our environment out of the inspiring presence of SILENCE.
Sponsored by an Artist grant from the Ministry of Culture and Science as part of the NRW Corona Assistance
VOICE.SILENCE is the title of the didactic event formats I organize with regard to the subject of perception of SILENCE as it shapes and provides an environment for working with sound, form and presence.
Under the title VOICE.SILENCE working sessions with music groups (e.g. from March to December 2006 at Christuskirche, Cologne, and finally from 2016 until 2017 as part of the Academy of the Art of Sermon at the Protestant Faculty of Theology, Bonn) as well as courses, training of lectors and workshops for vocal training of the Listening Voice have taken place.
The inclusion of our perception of SILENCE as well as the vocal improvisation both provide momentum to this work. In this context, vocal training allows us to act as an instrument.
What makes you pause and contemplate?
In summer 2018 a SILENCE Presence Performance tour was conducted in 14 European cities addressing the question “WHAT makes you pause and contemplate?“.
Originally, the project SILENCE Presence Performance was initiated by an interest in current issues, and by a reflectiveness about how easy or difficult it is to reach us, and whether my concerns about the current state of affairs are shared. This developed into a many-voiced response expressing and addressing solidarity, helplessness, consolation, happiness and beauty. In a silent documentary film portraying the variety of answers, this response has been shared and simultaneously accompanied with a live concert several times.
This film concert is dedicated to the art of encounter, and to silent ways of an unobtrusive exchange between people:
WHAT MAKES YOU PAUSE AND CONTEMPLATE? – a universal question – was posed in form of a sculpture and in silence in public urban spaces by slowly playing the violin on a rose. The question was answered on more than 40 meters of paper; written in almost 20 languages by people of many different nationalities and backgrounds.
This 77 minute long silent film was created as a moving portrait documenting people´s reactions and various answers to the question WHAT MAKES YOU PAUSE AND CONTEMPLATE? in today´s world. The SILENCE which enables everything as well as the valuable non verbal encounters that cannot be documented in the film, are translated into the live concerts.
The video installation >>GOLDEN STONES<< is presented in the current exhibition at Frauenmuseum Bonn: a documentary in visual, sound and lyrics about the 2020 Applied Silence Performance GOLDEN STONES:
During long hikes GOLDEN STONES were placed in the countryside, each representing thoughts of possibilities and calls for a change of time, and especially mutual gestures of solidarity and encouragement: GOLDEN STONES, dedicated to the possible stories of encounter which will probably remain unnoticed and undiscovered.
Up to now, 31 out of 43 stones have been found and taken; 12 stones are still in the Siebengebirge, possibly found but not taken.
GOLDEN STONES can be viewed as a homage to the power and beauty of nature and silence, and as an image for pause with the not inexhaustible creation.
Looking forward to hearing from you about your resonances,
Rena Meyer Wiel