listening 2 minutes silence


listening 2-minutes silence 1st-11th november 2013

canary wharf underground station 12 days

the 2-minute silence first took place in 1919, following the instructions by king george v after a letter in the london evening news (8th may 1919) was brought to his attention. the antithesis to the deafening noise of the great war, the silence was introduced as a way for the people to reflect on the conflict in a public space. the tradition has continued annually ever since, spreading internationally and to other forms of grieving.

almost a century on, how do people today interact with the remembrance 2-minute silence? what does it mean to them? television channels show the uk coming to a halt, people taking a moment to consider the atrocities of war. yet, is this a true reflection of what takes place?

platform-7’s 2012 ‘no man’s land’ remembrance event took place across the london underground. before beginning, the performers respected the 2-minutes silence, which was filmed for the occasion. what the footage shows is a different view to that on the telly.

from 1st november until 11th november (remembrance day) 2013, a sound and video installation at london underground’s canary wharf tube station will show the films from our 2012 event and ask ‘what modern meaning has the 2-minute silence?’

since world war one, there have been many major wars, including another world war and numerous localised conflicts. does the silence have any bearing on reducing war or is silence only about those who have passed away during conflict? is the 2-minutes silence just theatre – the performance of a political event? and how is silence perceived?

the films and sound will be played simultaneously, in keeping with the live event of 2012. it will test a theory of what you visually focus on is what you will hear amongst the dissonant sounds. and consider professor ross browns assertion ‘trying to remember is the same as trying to listen (and whilst one may hear polyphonically, one cannot listen to two things at the same time)’ 1.

1. brown, ross, 2010, memory, noise and silence, blog []

[no man’s land website] [watch the videos]

click image to watch videos