Silent Sound

Concept by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
St George’s Hall
14th September 2006

Reviewed by Adam Ford

Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Well of course you do. How could it be otherwise in a society as competitive as ours? But a couple of hundred people in the Small Concert Hall got that feeling again at the Silent Sound show.

As the lights began to get dimmer and people reached their seats, Ciarán O’Keefe from Living TV’s ‘Most Haunted’ programme began to address the audience. He promised an incredible experience.

“Tonight, any theory that you may have previously held about the inner machinations of the mind, any theory about our senses beyond our normal five, certainly any thoughts about the very nature of silence, all will be left behind in the very space that you occupy now.”

In my case, his wild claims could not have been further from the truth.

During the performance, Forsyth and Pollard were seated onstage inside a soundproof booth, inspired by a Victorian 'spirit cabinet'. They repeated a single sentence throughout the twenty minutes, while a small orchestra played note-perfectly and lights flickered slightly. This spoken statement was then allegedly embedded into a live music recital. The message was inaudible to the audience's ears, but was supposedly transmitted to our subconscious.

As the lights came up and people began to move off, there was a rumbling sound beneath the floorboards, followed by a second of screeching feedback and a couple of screams from people in the audience. Someone asked, “Was that it?”

Yes. Good job it was a free event. Like with other ‘paranormal’ shows, I’m sure those who wanted to believe found something to believe in. The rest of us just got to spend half an hour in a room with statues and a chandelier.

The St George’s Hall show will be broadcast from 15th September at the Blade Factory in Greenland Street. An audio recording of the live performance will be incorporated into a large-scale installation.

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