The Great Silence
Director: Allora & Calzadilla (in collaboration with Ted Chiang)
Section: The New Medium III: Multi-screen Cinema
Country: Puerto Rico | Year: 2014
Language(s): English | Time: 17 mins
Allora & Calzadilla collaborated with speculative fiction writer Ted Chiang to create a subtitle script written from the perspective of parrots. The film focuses on the world’s largest single aperture radio telescope, which transmits and captures radio waves to and from the edges of the universe, seeking signs of other intelligent life. The endangered parrots living just beyond the observatory ponder their spatial and cognitive proximity to humans, with whom they share the rare faculty of vocal learning. Through an expansive exploration of sound, and the cadence and brevity of poetry, the film considers the relationships between the living and nonliving, human and animal, and terrestrial and cosmic.
Jennifer Allora (b. 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971) use sculpture, performance, video, sound, and photography in varying combinations to evoke contemporary geopolitics, cultural artifacts, and the ‘deep time’ of archaeological history. They give meaning to their artistic research by questioning the structural and narrative conventions of storytelling. Collaborating since 1995, Allora & Calzadilla have shown at Documenta 13, Bienal de la Habana, Dak’art, Guangzhou Triennial, Whitney Biennial, Venice Biennale, New Museum, Stedelijk Museum, LACMA, Mori Art Museum. In 2006 they were finalists for the Hugo Boss Prize and the Nam June Paik Award.