October 5, 2021

the politics of silence

4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture

Jabulani Maseko. A Rumble in the Jungle, 2020–21. Ink on paper, 170 × 240 × 230 cm.

Blanca Gracia. Echo and Narcissus, 2019. Colour pencils on paper.

Jane Jin Kaisen, APERTURES | SPECTERS | RIFTS (detail), 2016. Triptych lightbox. Installation view, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, ARTSPECTRUM, Korea, 2016. Photo: Byunghun Min / Halo Studio.

Michelle Eistrup. Mineral Emissaries, Mineral Krokoit, Dundes, Tasmania, Terra Mineralia, Freiberg, 2020. @ Michelle Eistrup.

The Politics of Silence is a book-exhibition-anthology about silence, published by the Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura (CECC), Faculdade de Ciências Humanas da Universidade Católica Portuguesa, edited by Luísa Santos with the editorial assistance of Ana Fabíola Maurício, both as a concept and as a practice which is essential to contemporary visual culture in its relationship with the political.

With contributions from: Grace Samboh and Rachel K Surijata; RAW Académie (a text by Koyo Kouoh; Marie Hélène Pereira; Dulcie Abrahams Altass; Tabara Korka Ndiaye; and Fatima Bintou Rassoul SY); Luísa Santos; Mari Norbakk; Nav Haq; Rado Ištok; Same Mdluli; Yemisi Aribisala; Blanca Gracia; Délio Jasse; Jabulani Maseko; Johan Tirén; Jane Jin Kaisen; Michelle Eistrup; Mónica de Miranda; and Saba Bereket Persson.

Graphic design by vivoeusébio.

If we think of the dictionary’s definition of silence (a period without any sound; complete quiet; a state of not speaking or writing or making a noise: a state of not communicating), we might think of passivity. Nevertheless, silence has been used violently across various political regimes to censor and erase dissonant ideas, identities and narratives. On the other hand, as artistic practices have shown, silence can also operate as a poetic protest, a currency, and a powerful tool of resistance.

The Politics of Silence aims at developing knowledge, in particular on the power relations associated with narratives that determine what we recognize as being the history of humanity. It is also intended to contribute to the public discussion about the construction and erasure of the narratives that constitute the contemporary world we live in via artistic production as well as the theoretical frameworks that inform those.

At practical and formal levels, this book-exhibition-anthology, with an online and a printed version, is divided into 2 parts followed by an introduction that frames it in the contemporary moment. The first part, of applied research, consists of visual essays produced for the exhibition-book formats (print and online) making use of the corresponding media (paper and screen). Pages and screen operate as walls for the exhibition of the visual essays. The second part, theoretical and essayistic, are dedicated to reflections of various authors.

The editorial methodology of this book-exhibition-anthology is rooted in applied research via artistic practices and the critical analysis of those practices within transdisciplinary and transcultural approaches. Such method aims at, rather than reaching a consensus, contribute for knowledge production. More specifically, the project is grounded in the production of theory as well as practice on visual culture within the dimensions of mediation, systemic conflict, and identity through the lenses of works that represent the diversity of voices and perspectives that define art and life in our contemporary times.

The Politics of Silence will be publicly presented in Lisbon with Nelson Ribeiro, Jane Jin Kaisen, Michelle Eistrup, Luísa Santos, Fabíola Maurício (CECC—Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas da Universidade Católica Portuguesa; and HANGAR), in Copenhagen (SMK—the National Gallery of Denmark), and in Valladolid. ​

Furthemore, a workshop, departing from the visual essays of the book, will be organised at the HANGAR, in Lisbon, for children aged between six and twelve years-old in December 2021.

This book-exhibition-anthology is possible with the support of the following institutions: DGArtes—Direcção Geral das Artes; República Portuguesa—Cultura; Creative Europe; Danish Arts Foundation; CECC—Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas da Universidade Católica Portuguesa; nanogaleria; CreArt; and HANGAR.

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