Speaking of Silence

Speaking of Silence, Baltimore MD 2006 – 2008

Speaking of Silence was a two year-long Art on Purpose program that included a series of exhibitions, art workshops, partnerships with artists and playwrights and a traveling community engagement listening booth. The program sprung from a series of nearly 100 audio interviews in which I collected reflections from a wide range of participants exploring the role that silence plays in our lives. 

In its first year, the Addressing Silence series, I recorded stories from Baltimore City youth, musicians, artists, preachers, mothers, fathers, the disenfranchised and the privileged.  These interviews surfaced common ground connections in both the love, fear and importance of silence in our lives.  Stories reflected themes of communication barriers, feeling invisible, spirituality and creative inspiration.  Over half of the interviews done that year were with youth.  These stories were highlighted in the Youth and Silence audio and image series that explored the communication barriers between the generations as well as the struggles of being heard as a young person.  Sound editor Yutaka Houlette worked closely with me to edit the final audio pieces.

In the second year, Speaking of Silence II focused directly on bringing voice and visibility to individuals and groups who have been traditionally silenced. I made portraits of and recorded stories from individuals dealing with mental illness, drug and alcohol addictions, recently released prisoners and those in domestic violence and homeless shelters. Their photographs and stories were collected and shared through a traveling story sharing program that allowed participants to listen and respond to the collected stories with their own reflections and experiences.  All collected responses to the stories were then exhibited together in a series of interactive art exhibits that highlighted and advocated for awareness on issues of domestic violence, homelessness, addiction, and mental health.

Speaking of Silence overview:  WYPR 88.1 The Signal interview 

Youth and Silence

Addressing Silence

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

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