Saturday, November 17, 2007

Manifesto for Silence - Stuart Sim

[Noise is derived from the Latin ‘nausea’, meaning seasickness]

I bought this book a short time ago and I was planning to write a topic about it soon. I decided to post these few thoughts on the blog today, after I had been to a live electronics gig by the acclaimed duo "Pan Sonic", here in Milan. My ears started to ring after the first minute of very loud playback and I went away soon.
(Sound) Art that is ‘busy’ (like this latest experience) becomes a means of filling up space so that the void is kept at bay, trying to distract us from our fears of being exposed to silence or emptiness, said the author Stuart Sim. I agree.

Silence matters.
We live in an increasingly noisy society in which silence is a threatened phenomenon. Noise and silence are locked in conflict in contemporary existence, with noise pollution becoming a major problem of the developed world.

More and more, it is coming to seem that a life of noise is our destiny. Just as there is a politics of noise, so there can, and should, be an opposed politics of silence. It is possible to speak of the virtues of silence in a general sense and to wish to preserve them in an era where the environment is being scarred by noise pollution.

Contemplation is a matter of solitude and silence, and it is very much against the grain of modern existence, which, particularly in the West, demands activity and ‘busyness’ from us as a demonstration of our social usefulness.

Noise sells.
To export technology is also to export noise. If you cannot escape from the noise, then it is an imposition, an invasion of your space and a transgression of your rights.

Silence as a living presence. Music is unthinkable without silence, which is an integral aspect of all musical composition.

Fortunately, both writing and reading this blog are essentially silent activities which do not contribute to noise pollution.

[review -]

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11/19/2007

    I couldnt agree more!!!!!
    I recently went to a gig in Kyoto by Raster Noton and immediately thought three things:

    1. if this is minimalism then someone should rewrite the definition, it was more akin to a rock concert - volume & theatrics!

    2. thank god I have ear plugs!

    3. poor old Carsten Niccolai & his mates are deaf! Too much exposure too their own unfiltered digital music has literally killed their high end hearing...

    its like a bad joke:

    Q: who does your mastering?
    A: i dont know, but it costs us a lot and I can't hear the difference!?!

    They presumably also can't hear a CRT TV set whining at 16k in the next room, or in fact 'real' reverb tails or many other 'artefacts' of the once beautiful analogue world... but it doesnt matter, because like syphillis they now go around inflicting their disease on every person that comes to their concerts...

    My best analogy is attending a concert & being permanently blinded by the lighting....

    gee, thanks a lot