Nikos Arvanitis
Collective Silence

installation, audio, duration 57min 52sec, digital prints, 2013

Nikos Arvanitis researches the audiovisual material of Contemporary Greek Art Institute’s (ISET) archive, selects “silences”, which are pauses in the speech of artists and he creates an audio work of art. The artist’s audiovisual structure functions as an exhibit/index of the primary material and as a place where audience listens to the work. In this specially formed place and by means of a visual map, a diagram, the artist illustrates material and information that direct us to critical events of periods from which the artists’ pauses are derived and are taken from the ISET’s archive. Arvanitis seeks for correlations between artistic activities and the events of periods that he has suggestively opted. The material which composes the silences soundscape and the equivalent course of events is drawn from ISET’s archive and is expanded by the artist’s personal data. The artist detects some ‘gaps’ in the archive, such as oversights relating to interesting subcultural trends of the utilised periods. These ‘dearths’ underline the incompleteness of the archive, the restrictions posed by the conditions of collecting and classifying data, a fact that always renders every archive partially indicative. The spectators sense the ‘silence of art’ and simultaneously follow the artist’s route in a series of connotations spurring us to contemplate upon the importance of this silence at critical moments of modern history and these moments additionally  impel us to search for several threads connected with current affairs. At the same time, silence that emerges from documentary material is a challenge for us in order to reflect on its limits and the ‘trace’ leaving behind it. The value of the material depends on the way someone handles its content.

Text by Elpida Karampa
(translation by Sylvia Giota)

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