/ 1 March, 2017

(…) “It seems as if the modern individual would feel the secret need of remaining out of himself, of being transported, of seeing himself wrapped up in a stimulating or intoxicating environment, with his pleasantly numbed conscience”, Spanish priest José Antonio Pagola claims. Life in contemporary society goes by submerged in the tormenting noise provoked by the constant “flashing” of images, texts and sounds. The advertising and informative shrapnel―at times as frivolous as the first one―does not give rest to our tired eyes and transports us to the cup of coffee, or directly to the medicine chest.

Many theories see this phenomenon inside an oblique administration—but calculated, ex professo—of the time and space of the people from power. What formerly could be the open frustration of the word, at present mutates to much more refined mechanisms. It has to do with abandoning the ancient Panoptic model through much subtler ways of control as the supposed personal management of interests and tastes of their own, well-known trick of the market—an institution which functions under logics that contribute to maintain social inequalities, exploitation and consumerism.

Thousands of forms of entertainment have emerged so as not to no leave us alone with our conscience, with our silence. Intoxicated with it we can take off the masks we are forced to wear day by day, we can liberate hidden pains, hopes and nonconformities. It is in silence that we make ourselves, definitively, the unavoidable questions: where do we come from? who are we? where are we going? It is then that we think. And nothing is more dangerous—because of subversive and revolutionary—than a human being with a wide-awake ingenuity. The silence for those interested in knowing freedom, at cross-current of society at present time, is an ineluctable need.

The Western culture to which we belong has preferred the square, the forum, the overwhelming bustle, to the distension and meditation characteristic of East. Of course, this binary appreciation does not distinguish here the innumerable shades, interferences and displacements that take place today and promote the early expiry of concepts and definitions, making absurd the generalizations. It intends to be only a weak coordinate. Hence the silence finds dissimilar appraisals in both cultures. In the West, the rhetoric; in the East, the contemplation, the meditation, the haragei.[1]

The exhibition El silencio de Duchamp (Duchamp’s Silence) in Factoría Habana invited us to rethink the term, to train ourselves in the reading of its uses, hues and implications in a crucial moment of remolding our society, a period that demands us a pause, precisely, to think.

(…) The silence, then, far from the vacuity of sense, contains all the expressible potential; it is rich, abundant matter, container of immense wisdom. Curators Concha Fontanela and Meira Marrero constructed in the space of the gallery a curatorial thesis that allowed the dismantling of the notion of silence in what is politic, sexual, historical, informative (the statistics, abstract until their illegibility), the intercultural and in the experience of emigration. In the works chosen, the philosophical and linguistic reflections about the term, the speculation, acquire sense, veracity and strength when applied to the representation or the comments on experiences or concrete phenomenons. (…)


[1] In Japan, the art of non-verbal communication.

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