Location: Partapur, Rajasthan, India
Year: 2014


Part of the Sandarbh Artist Residency (India), Silence is a sound reactive public art installation where the message meets the audience in their natural environment. The two weeks of the residency is about reflecting on local culture, create connections across different disciplines. Partapur is a small indian town where people are maintaining their own needs, they grow and harvest their food locally. A small group started the residency program in 2003, bringing international contemporary artists from all around the world in order to work together local people and volunteers. The residency itself is located on the edge of the village, where education, self helping organizations and contemporary art are developed rapidly.

The noise pollution and the level of sounds are very high in all indian cities. One can feel the difference between silence and unstructured, over saturated noise easily just by walking from the main road to the edge of the village. Indian culture is a vivid pool of sounds filled with horns, singing mobile ringing tones, vehicles, music, animals, muezzin tone fragments, etc. The installation is an invitation to experience and focus on this surreal soundscape. On the other hand it is an experiment to investigate the situation where tribal people meet new media. Painted, static texts are covering all the houses, poles, and all type of material, including beautifully handcrafted painted vehicles. Now, people can interact with their very common environment in a different way, when they sing, talk, horn, the letters are moving and dancing according to their voice thus opening a possibility to perceive our own culture from a different point of view.   


The installation is started with painting: one painter was asked to paint the word “Silence” ( शांति ) with hindi characters so local people could read and understand the message on the wall. The digitalized painting was then processed and rendered into small dots in order to form a particle system that can be affected and modified freely. The parameters of this particle system is then altered by the incoming sound level from the environment using a field recording device. The whole system is installed on a small chariot, the same tool that people are using for carrying their own materials around. The sound analysis and the realtime animation was made with Processing.

Silence is made together with the members of Sandarbh Artist Residency, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio and volunteers from the village.

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