In front of London London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle, 2018.
Silencer was commissioned by CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice) in 2018 and presented as part of City Sonic Places: Experiencing the Urban Soundscape symposium.
Silencer – Performance in sensory impairment soundwalking suit. The work enables the wearer to experience the environment in complete silence, while the surface of the suit absorbs urban noise. The performer wears earplugs and noise-cancelling headphones during the piece. Binaural microphones are hidden in the suit recording the environmental sounds around performer.
•The suit makes “the other” visible in public while concealing gender, body shape and voice. Performed in London (Elephant and Castle), and Aberdeen (City centre and Peacock Visual Arts).
• The piece was originally performed in London at ‘City Sonic Places: experiencing the urban soundscape’ symposium, currated by @lisa_hall_ for CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice) at the University of Arts London.
I found myself in one of the offices of London College of Communication, putting on a suit that I fashioned from soundproof white panels. Dressed as the Silencer, I became a character, not able to hear most sounds, or see clearly as the glasses easily steamed up, with limited capability to feel vibration or wind, due to the thickness of the suit. By leaving the building, Silencer encountered an unfamiliar terrain. The area of Elephant and Castle seemed a few hours ago very noisy, busy, overwhelming, but now it was very quiet. In the suit, I experienced a certain detachment from the environment. A full body experience of sound had been challenged, and it was clear that sound happens somewhere else. I was aware of the sources of only rare, very loud sound sources. Navigation in a maze of cycling lanes was difficult. The world is packed with information, and our minds are heavily selective. I was learning to navigate this new world as Silencer, to explore the area in silence, in an almost meditative state. People were waving at Silencer and taking pictures. We were interacting. After 2 hours of walk, Silencer went back to the University.