If one considers being silent from the perspective of acoustics, one might say that we originate from a world of being silent and return to a world of silence. Between those points lie a variety of degrees of noise. A sociological view of the complicit silence of politicians and cliques and the resigned silence of public opinion. A policy of forgetting people and stories which will not be represented in the public domain, and memory frozen in the form of monuments. Silence, too, as an instrument of terror – the taciturn patriarch in the family, solitary confinement. The staged silence of an interrogation, in the theatre, and the ultimate silence at the Onkalo permanent repository: please remember to forget forever!
Being silent and the silence we hear are thus merely noises that are not operating at the time, a barely perceptible echo of an imploding universal clamour, an almighty din. It is never silent; we are never silent. But once in a lifetime, every one of us is rendered silent. People like to portray Finns as particularly practised and experienced people of few words. At the Blackmarket one can listen in to them discussing being silent.
4’33” is John Cage’s most famous composition. It was composed in 1952 for any instrument (or combination of instruments), and the score instructs the performer not to play the instrument during the entire duration of the piece. The piece purports to consist of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, although it is commonly perceived as “four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence”. In the Blackmarket we will have 4 hours and thirtythree minutes to perform silence.
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