A Project by Dorine van Meel
Video, Sound and performance piece
Developed in collaboration with sound artist Sami El-Enany
With poems by Khairani Barokka, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio and Selina Neirok Leem
Performance event, Extracity, Antwerp, 15 October 2022
Exhibition, Die Digitale, Düsseldorf, 7 October - 22 October 2022
Performance event, South London Gallery, London, 29 June 2022
Exhibition, Pylon Lab, online, June 2023
Screening, HELLERAU, Dresden, summer of 2023
And darkness arrives early,
but who is there to witness.
The approaching shadows play,
a gentle dance of planets.
Silent Echoes consists of a series of live performances and video installations and is developed in collaboration with sound artist Sami El-Enany. The project includes poetic contributions by artists, writers and climate activists Khairani Barokka, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Selina Neirok Leem and myself. The work is a collaborative effort and develops over time on different platforms, accumulating contributions.
The composed spaces were powered by 31 speakers that spanned the site of the exhibition and became interrelated sonic environments for the recitations of the contributing poets. Amid the sounds of the piece we hear electric fires in the rustle of static, the aimless rattling of abandoned machinery, birdsong in the cages of distortion, a folk song -an ocean of distance away, and the subterranean moaning of the Earth.
Silent Echoes addresses the climate crisis through these various poetic contributions written by poets and activists who come from different islands across the Pacific Ocean. Each poem highlights different ways in which the climate crisis unfolds on these islands through the workings of (neo-)colonialist practices past and present. Whether it is because of the poisoning of the water due to the presence of military remnants from World War II, because of the clearing of the original forests and the planting of endless fields of palm trees for the production of palm oil, because of the suppression of the language and culture of the indigenous population by the colonial settlers or because of the nuclear tests that were carried out on the atolls without any regard of the people living there. As much as these poems mourn the loss of life – in all its different forms, they also speak of resistance, endurance and cohabitation, and offer a hopeful view for our world in the face of a dark present and an uncertain future.
The images that accompany the many voices show computer generated islands in which digital waves turn into digital grains of desert sand, presenting the viewer with a dystopian vision, in which an unfolding ecological catastrophe is implied.
Silent Echoes has received financial support from the Mondriaan Fonds