Keynotes and performance presented by Cashmere Radio ‘Unseen and Unheard’ — The perception of emptiness and the emptiness of perception in cinema

Keynotes and performance presented by Cashmere Radio

‘Unseen and Unheard’ — The perception of emptiness and the emptiness of perception in cinema

6.07., 7:30pm, Wolf Studio

If cinema forces an heightened attention to what is presented and framed on camera, then just as constitutive of a film is that which—consciously or not—escapes cinematic representation. The modes of this avoidance reveal as much about a film as that which makes up its explicit content: facts that are repressed, narratives or dialogues deemed ‘uninteresting’, the perceived impossibility of making themes, ideas or objects pervious to signification. The unseen and unheard in cinema, then, is a permanent problematic encounter for cinema itself: that which is both etched into a film and yet beyond it, at once too small and too big to be properly defined.

This problem makes the unseen and unheard both a device and object of inquiry for many filmmakers—and, a permanent challenge to a film’s spectators: silences, blurs and, emptinesses, visual and sonic voids, MacGuffins. By striving to represent the unrepresentable, or conversely, to gesture towards that which lurks beneath the representable, film points beyond the film. The unseen and unheard is more than a simple aesthetic or perceptual curiosity, then. Rather, the perceptual questions naturally bleed into ethical, philosophical and political concerns involved with film and what is heard and seen within it. How and why does something defy representation? What is our responsibility to what remains unrepresentable? What lurks in those audible and visual blind spots and why do they frighten and exhilarates us so much?

Keynote 1: Amelia Groom — Silence
Amelia Groom is a Berlin-based writer and art historian. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, where she is working on a project about stones and inorganic feminist embodiments. She edited the Documents of Contemporary Art anthology on TIME (Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press), and her most recently published texts have been about holes, lichen, blurs, pareidolia, anachronism and the politics of silence. She received her PhD in Art History & Theory from the University of Sydney, and since 2014 she has taught on the Critical Studies master’s program at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

She was also the Theory Tutor for the 2016-2018 Master of Voice MA program at the Sandberg Institute. Her recent texts have addressed topics including lichen, pareidolia, ventriloquism, blurs, silence, and rocks. From 2018-2020 she is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, conducting research for a book-length study on stones and feminist inorganic embodiments.

Proposed Keynote 2: Kylie Gilchrist — Obfuscation

Kylie Gilchrist is a London-based writer and editor. She holds a Masters of Philosophy from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, and served as co-editor of Notes, an ongoing editorial project that collects unpublished fragments of texts centered on a given theme. Notes primarily exists as a set of publications organized by various collaborators, with two collections published by Publication Studio: Notes: On Value (ed. Anna de Filippi, Kylie Gilchrist, and Megan Stockton, 2013) and Notes: On Administration (ed. Kylie Gilchrist and Megan Stockton, 2016). She produced ‘Perception is Reading’ for Cashmere Radio in July of 2017, exploring how experience is registered in the bodies and memories of individuals and collective histories are transmitted to the bodies of texts. Both Kylie and Amelia will respond to the other’s talk, and there will be the possibility of questions from the audience.

Proposed Sound Piece: Collage of Silence by Wilted Woman

On the evening, a commissioned sound work by sound artist Elizabeth Davis—producing as Wilted Woman—will be playing before and between the keynotes. Davis will present a collage work silences in film, exploring the different densities and qualities of that which should be “nothing”. Davis has released over 15 different albums and cassettes on respected labels such as Primitive Languages and She Rocks!, as well as hosting a regular show on Cashmere Radio and participating in the Sound Studies program at Universität der Künste in Berlin.