Allora & Calzadilla in collaboration with Ted Chiang, The Great Silence, presented by Filipa Ramos

Allora & Calzadilla in collaboration with Ted Chiang, The Great Silence, presented by Filipa Ramos

Allora & Calzadilla (in collaboration with Ted Chiang), The Great Silence (still), 2014.

Bar Laika presents
Allora & Calzadilla in collaboration with Ted Chiang, The Great Silence, presented by Filipa Ramos
March 19, 2020, 9pm
Bar Laika by e-flux
224 Greene Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Join us at Bar Laika on Thursday, March 19 at 9pm for a screening of Allora & Calzadilla’s collaboration with Ted Chiang The Great Silence, presented by Filipa Ramos.

Through an expansive exploration of sound, The Great Silence ((2014, 16:22 minutes) examines the irreducible relationships between the living and nonliving, human and animal, and terrestrial and cosmic. 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. Located at the Arecibo Observatory in Esperanza [Hope], Puerto Rico, the site is surrounded by the Rio Abajo forest, home to the last wild population of critically endangered Amazona vittata parrots.

Allora & Calzadilla collaborated with science fiction author Ted Chiang to create a subtitle script written from the parrots’ perspective, which chronicles humankind’s determined quest to find other intelligent life. While this search spans the far reaches of outer space, the avian protagonists living just beyond the observatory ponder their spatial and cognitive proximity to humans, with whom they share the rare faculty of vocal learning. Only for species of vocal learners, the parrots explain, does sound play such an important role in the creation of mythologies. As humans scan for signs of life amid the consonant vibrations of deep space, the parrots reflect on the imminent end of their kind and the subsequent disappearance of their language, rituals and traditions.

Through a complex research-oriented practice, Allora & Calzadilla critically address the intersections and complicities between the cultural, the historical and the geopolitical. The interdisciplinary nature of their interventions is echoed by an expanded use of the artistic medium that includes performance, sculpture, sound, video and photography. Their dynamic engagement with the art historical results in an acute attention to both the conceptual and the material, the metaphoric as well as the literal. The Puerto Rico-based artists have studied the ephemeral nature of collective drawing with monumental sticks of chalk at the Biennial de Lima, Peru (Chalk [Lima], 1998–2002); the imprints of colonial, nationalist, and military violence on the diverse populations and landscapes of Vieques, Puerto Rico (Land Mark (Foot Prints), 2001–2002; Land Mark, 2003; Returning a Sound, 2004; Under Discussion, 2006 and Half Mast/Full Mast, 2011); and the resonance of playing, warping and combining music from various moments in history (Clamor, 2006; Wake Up, 2007; Sediments Sentiments- Figures of Speech, 2008; Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano, 2008; Raptor’s Rapture, 2012; Apotomē, 2013; 3, 2013); as well as the entanglement between biophysics, semiotics and actuality (Growth, 2004; Puerto Rican Light - Cueva Vientos, 2015).  

Lisbon-born Filipa Ramos is a writer and editor based in London. She is a Lecturer in the Experimental Film MA programme of Kingston University and in the MRes Art:Moving Image of Central Saint Martins, both in London, and works with the Master Programme of the Institut Kunst, Basel. Ramos is co-curator of Vdrome, a programme of screenings of films by visual artists and filmmakers. She was Associate Editor of Manifesta Journal and contributed to Documenta 13 (2012) and 14 (2017). She recently edited Animals (Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Press).

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Filipa Ramos is the co-curator, with Lucia Pietroiusti, of “Songs for the Changing Seasons” at the 1st Vienna Climate Biennale (through July 14, 2024) and curator of Carlos Casas’s “Bestiari,” the Catalan representation for the 60th Venice Biennale.

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