The Sound of Silence

“He positioned himself for the best possible image. He waited 20 minutes. He was hoping the vulture would spread its wings”.

The Sound of Silence

As part of Brighton Photo Biennial 2006 Fabrica hosted the European premiere of Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar’s The Sound of Silence, an installation focusing on the life of South African photojournalist Kevin Carter.

There was a single photographic image in Alfredo Jaar’s installation and this one image was only visible on the screen for a matter of seconds. When you entered Jaar’s installation, you entered a story: a story about an individual photograph and its impact but also a story about representation and its unequal effects. As the artist said: “It is a lamentation. It’s a poem that asks about ethics of what we (photojournalists) do when we shoot pain.”

Access to The Sound of Silence was carefully controlled. Upon entering the installation space, you were confronted with an unsettling narrative that raises questions about the limits of representation, of what can and should be represented and of the responsibilities not only of the individual photographer but of those who control the circulation and dissemination of the photographic image.

Jaar’s work raises questions about the relationship between photography and representation; in other words, between the medium and its political implications. In a context where reality television shows and web-casting purport to democratise the means of representation, Jaar’s practice is a timely reminder of the growing gulf between actual representation and its fake imitationsGilane Tawadros

Total Visitor Numbers: 8, 744

Exhibition Visitor Comments

Mesmerising and haunting. An astonishingly moving work on all sorts of levels.

It is a long time since cried at a piece of art. Viola’s swimmers, the Rothko Chapel, and now this.

I need a drink after that…

Image Gallery

Photographs by Philp Carr