When Silence Speaks


“Don’t just do something, sit there, in silence.” Zita

In an art show called “The Artist Is Present,” Marina Abramović sat in the museum’s atrium for 700 hours (6 days a week for 7 hours a day) inviting the crowds of viewers to sit directly opposite her in silent dialogue.

The video below shows Abramović, sitting and waiting for her next silent interlocutor. At the end, Ulay who was her lover and collaborator for 12 years when they were young, approaches and takes a seat. Until that moment they had neither seen or spoken to each other in over 20 years. Marina Abramović looks up to what was probably the most unexpected sight of the night. Their reunion touchingly reminds us that we do not always need words to speak and communicate our most sincere feelings.

We live in a world of rapid, constant communication and input where our attention is always pulled somewhere else and we experience a seemingly endless cascade of thoughts swimming in our head.

What happens when we stop to listen to what is spoken in silence?