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Silent Echoes is a video and performance piece developen by Dutch artist Dorine van Meel in collaboration with sound artist Sami El-Enany. The project includes poetic and musical contributions by artists, writers, singers Khairani Barokka, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Serie Barford, Ucetōt Lorok and Dorine van Meel. The work is a collaborative effort and develops over time on different platforms, accumulating contributions.
Silent Echoes addresses the climate crisis through various poetic contributions written by poets, activists and singers who come from different islands across the Pacific Ocean. Each poem or song highlights different ways in which the climate crisis unfolds on these islands through the workings of (neo-)colonialist practices, past and present. Whether it is because of the poisoning of the water due to the presence of military remnants from World War II, because of the clearing of the original forests and the planting of endless fields of palm trees for the production of palm oil, because of the suppression of the language and culture of the indigenous population by the colonial settlers or because of the nuclear tests that were carried out on the atolls without any regard of the people living there. As much as these poems and songs mourn the loss of life – in all its different forms, they also speak of resistance, endurance and cohabitation, and offer a hopeful view for our world in the face of a dark present and an uncertain future.
The images that accompany the many voices show computer-generated islands in which digital waves turn into digital grains of desert sand, presenting the viewer with a dystopian vision, in which an unfolding ecological catastrophe is implied. Images of industrial tools and corporate objects appear in distorted shapes, as silent echoes of a past, in which the course of history has not been reversed.
Silent Echoes has received financial support from the Mondriaan Fonds.
Dorine van Meel (1984) is a Dutch artist whose practice takes the form of video installations, performances, discursive projects and long-term collaborations. In her video work, digitally produced images are combined with composed soundtracks and texts read by the artist as well as other female narrators.
Sami El-Enany is a British Egyptian artist who works with sound, often negotiating the fringes of modern classical, electronica and field recording. His practice ranges widely from composition and sound design for screen, radio art, game design and record production.
Khairani Barokka is a Minang-Javanese writer and artist from Jakarta, based in London, whose work centres disability justice as anticolonial praxis. She often focuses on ableist racism and patriarchy as affective flows in contemporary colonial violences, including in the fine art world and archives.
Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio is a Kanaka Maoli wahine artist / activist / scholar / storyteller born and raised in Pālolo Valley to parents Jonathan and Mary Osorio.
Serie (Cherie) Barford was born in Aotearoa New Zealand and lives in West Auckland. She is of Samoan and European descent, and her work explores hybrid identities, seeking meaning in “the space between."
Ucetōt Lorok is a singer from the Marshall Islands.
This event is part of Rights of Nature, a two-day cross-disciplinary program by SLARG, in close collaboration with Klimaatfestival Antwerpen, FOMU, Curatorial Studies KASK Gent, and Kunsthal Extra City. Rights of Nature explores the role of law, philosophy and arts in relation to "rights of nature". It brings together various forms of research and translates this to a wide audience.
Images: Stills of Silent Echoes © Dorine van Meel