This issue is edited by Hakan Topal with contributions by Defne Ayas, Anne Barlow, Regine Basha, Dan Cameron, Aslihan Demirtas, Cevdet Erek, Tony Chakar and Micah Silver.
Together, these authors discuss the possibilities and limitations of the condition of silence by looking at examples in art, music and across socio-political contexts. Several authors take on silence within a global context, and address the concatenation of sound, history and nation.
Silence is chosen as the main focus for the Fall 2010 issue of the ArteEast Quarterly journal. A wide range of artists, curators and scholars discuss the possibilities and limitations of the condition of silence by looking at various examples in art, music and in social-political contexts.
Defne Ayas discusses the recently realized Blind Dates curatorial project and outlines the challenges and difficulties of engaging with highly sensitized issues characterized by the multi-layered histories within former Ottoman landscape and overlapping nationalized contexts. Issues such as regional conflicts, regional cultural production and exchange become the central focus of for collaborative undertaking. Aslihan Demirtas discusses a historical site, the ancient Armenian city Ani, which is now located within the national boundaries of Turkish Republic at the Armenian [previously Soviet] border. According to Demirtas, Ani represents a symbolically charged space because of the tense relationship between contemporary Armenia and Turkey. She argues that one has to look beyond national boundaries in order to grasp its importance and relationship in terms of the continuity of land which was long conceived as an uninterrupted domain. In her self-reflective video essay, Regine Basha navigates through YouTube videos and identified traces of Iraqi-Jewish songs in various popular videos. Basha’s work is informed by her original research project that she conducted about the Iraqi Jewish music scene called “Tuning Baghdad”. Tony Chakar similarly utilizes various images and text from religious and literature sources and combines them to present a personal narrative. His visual manifestation is influenced by the conditions in which he is experiencing Beirut, his home city.
Anne Barlow addresses her personal experience in Antarctica. She considers the “Silent Continent” as a productive ground for various sound works. Without having any ‘cultural indicators’, listening to the sounds of this silent continent informs us about the possibility of a non-nationalized space, yet national claims are still imposed to this site.
Dan Cameron points our attention to various works which activate our auditory senses by visually addressing our collective memories. Cameron gives a philosophical account about sound-scape that is intrinsic to our bodies and is related listening therefore thinking. Similarly, Micah Silver weaves through the history of music and gives us a well informed chronicle of silence in sound-based practices. He also questions the political dimension of silence and the act of silencing in popular music, which pacifies the audience in order to convey their message. Finally, Cevdet Erek addresses the concept of Tinnutus, a perception of a ringing noise in the ear, usually occuring after an extreme exposure to loud sound, such as a bomb explosion. Erek draws our attention to the creative possibilities of Tinnitus and provides various sound tracks of his recent work to accompany his text.