On Monday November 11th 2013 I was passing through the Gatwick Airport arrivals lounge on my weekly commute to Oxford when I experienced the broadcast of a recorded silence made at the cenotaph and announced over the airport tannoy to mark and commemorate the Armistice.
The announcement of the two minute silence stopped many of the arriving passengers in their tracks. Within the recording you can hear the sounds of strangers paying their respects as their footsteps slow and stop and conversations fall to silence with the sounding of the chimes to mark the time.
I was taken aback by the communal act of listening to mark such an emotive occasion, struck by the respect paid by all who participated, and upon listening back was fascinated by the sound of the airport coming to a standstill…then continuing after two minutes of remembrance.
This recording was preceded by a week long ritual paid by myself to record a two minute silence within my daily life. I captured the silence I paid whilst in the shower, cooking pancakes, drying my hair, walking home and eating breakfast.
The original Gatwick recording sparked a performance. I held a communal silence under the cover of some evergreen trees where I had placed a speaker attached to a number of cups on strings. The cups on strings served as an intimate listening device, and I amplified the recording that I had made at the airport through the cups. The experience led me to experiment further with the concept of two minute silences and communal listening.
Throughout the Spring of 2014 I continued to experiment with the form of a two minute silence, and began to amplify the original two minute recording in locations where I felt compelled to mark a silence. These video performances explore the impact of my own appearance within the silence on film, and the capture of listening using sound vigils.