Silence Isn't Very Much, 2018
Three-channel video and music installation, 40 min

Songs from Guy Goldstein's record (Memorable Equinox) played in the background of this installation are the point of departure for the entire exhibition. Goldstein worked on the album during a residency in Northern Ireland, while staying in a 200-year old "Curfew Tower". The complex political situation of the place contributed to his ongoing research on the notion of "noise", exploring it via different encounters between sound and image. The conflicted setting and the long history of physical as well as mental "background noises" colored the "noise" with political hues.

Citizens of the Northern Irish village of Cushendall still remember the bloody conflict in the late 20th century known as the Troubles, during which the ethno-religious factions populating the region fought one another using acts of terror and extreme violence: the Protestant-unionist majority, whose goal was to sustain the hegemony and the affiliation with the United Kingdom, and the Catholic-republican minority, whose goal was liberation and independence. Goldstein met with village inhabitants and asked their opinion about "noise": he talked with Catholics and Protestants, with simple folk, clergymen, and musicians. He recorded voices and calls at a hurling tournament—anancient Gaelic sport—and was exposed to Irish culture and mythology. All these are documented in the film which accompanies the album, combining stories, sounds, and words with his own playing and singing, to form a single work which captures the harsh intricacy still present in this place, projecting on other areas under violent strife.

Goldstein performed a reverse process: initially he created an album which served as soundtrack for the film, and only then did he create the film itself, which is screened simultaneously on three channels and three screens. The film features three major characters: Zippy Kearney, the village butcher, whose life revolves around preservation of the hurling tradition; Liz Weir, the storyteller; and Raymond Watson, an ex IRA-activist who was incarcerated at the infamous Maze Prison. Goldstein is, in fact, the fourth character. Throughout the film his figure is seen on the top screen, sometimes "trickling" to other screens as well. One may notice that he occupies a tall and narrow space, possibly art's ivory tower, possibly a voluntary prison tower. The low-ceilinged space enforces its conditions, making him bend like a hunchback, as he supervises the events on the other two screens. He appears as the one who pulls the strings, as an omniscient narrator who also listens to the album, as an actor who plays various roles, and as one who dictates space and time, distorting them at will, crossing exterior and interior, intertwining layers and narratives into one multi-sensory installation.



Video #1:
Video #2: