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Silence and the Silenced

Interdisciplinary Perspectives


Edited By Leslie Boldt, Corrado Federici and Ernesto Virgulti

Silence and the Silenced: Interdisciplinary Perspectives comprises a collection of essays from North American and European scholars who examine the various ways in which the theme of silence is developed in literary narratives as well as in such visual media as photography, film, painting, and architecture. The questions of silence and the presence or absence of voice are also explored in the arena of performance, with examples relating to pantomime and live installations. As the book title indicates, two fundamental aspects of silence are investigated: silence freely chosen as a means to deepen meditation and inner reflection and silence that is imposed by external agents through various forms of political repression and censorship or, conversely, by the self in an attempt to express revolt or to camouflage shame. The approaches to these questions range from the philosophical and the psychological to the rhetorical and the linguistic. Together, these insightful reflections reveal the complexity and profundity that surround the function of silence and voice in an aesthetic and social context.


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Part V. Body Language


12. The A/porias of Skin: Secrets and Secretions of Self and Other Mark Cauchi (with Wrik Mead and Rui Pimenta) Introductory Note The following essay was written as part of an artistic collaboration with art- ists Wrik Mead and Rui Pimenta. The total project—consisting of an essay, a video-art piece, and a sculptural installation—was intended to be ‘performed’ live in a venue. In an ongoing process, each of our contributions was con- stantly modified in response to the contributions of the others. Rui Pimenta created a large, synthetic, animal-like skin that was hung like a drape or a screen in our presentation venues, onto which was projected a video-art piece created by Wrik Mead, as well as images from the history of art and anatomy related to our theme. The essay, while employing the analytic tools of aca- demic writing, was deliberately written in an imagistic style and was intend- ed to work with the two art pieces toward creating a unified work. The pre- sent version of the essay remains largely consistent with the original, except that, to aid the reader’s sense of the whole, descriptions and analyses of Mead’s and Pimenta’s art pieces have been added, along with some images and expansions of some paragraphs. Skin, in itself, seems silent, dumb, brute, animal though inanimate, soul- less, breathless, dead, a corpse. The voice, in itself, seems to us very nearly the opposite. It is intangible, airy, breathy, respirating, inspiring, spirited, animating though not animal, human, linguistic,...

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