audience : hearing - Devised by Rachel Gomme
Sound composition: John Levack Drever

What is present in silence? Is one person’s silence different from another’s? An installation of minimal, human sound in a visually empty space, audience : hearing is quiet, delicate and intimate. An apparently empty space gradually gathers presence as the visitor begins to perceive the sounds of human silence. Layers of ambient sound are inlaid with the small, intimate traces of many individual presences – a breath taken in, the sound of someone swallowing, shifting in a chair. These traces of personal silence are heard sometimes individually, sometimes layered over one another, contrasting and merging, building to create the sense of an invisible gathering of people in the installation space, a presence both eerie and intimate. Drawn from audio recordings of over 100 ten-minute ‘interviews’ in which contributors were invited to remain silent with the interviewer, audience : hearing explores the quality of the silent presence, offering the visitor a sense of time spent in silence with others, a chance to focus on the intimate details of being which are often masked by speech and action, and an opportunity to add their own, living silence to this gathering.

For this presentation at Colchester Arts Centre, the installation returns to St Martin’s church, where some of the silences were originally recorded.