The “Silent Period” is a term used in the study of linguistics to describe the stage during which a new language learner refuses to speak her/his new language. In this multi-channel sound installation, Ngô and Zubalsky mobilize the phrase as a metaphor for possible strategies of resistance against impositions of a dominant language, often implicated in and enacted on multiple registers of culture, education, commerce, and governance. Through strategic uses of silence in the reading of appropriated texts, the installation renders a “lack” of spoken language production into a call for acts of critical listening.
This project is a part of a body of work which uses Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s text Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature as a point of departure for performances that embody the political and historical struggles of power that are enacted in everyday language. Often taking the form of reading or speech acts, the performances investigate how authority is assigned through the mediation of our voice and how the practice of a minor literature can potentially rupture or dislocate such centers of control.
H??ng Ngô is an artist and educator, born in Hong Kong, and based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work, often collaborative and performance-based, has been supported by the New Museum, Rhizome, LMCC, The Kitchen, EFA Project Space, Tate Modern, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum in Prague. She is a part of the collective Fantastic Futures, a recent Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow, and has a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Upcoming works can be viewed at Smackmellon (Brooklyn), Provisions Library (George Mason University), and Quartair (The Hague).
Or Zubalsky is a musician, artist, and programmer born in Israel and living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He is also part of the collectives Trade School and Fantastic Futures which recently performed at the New Museum and is supported by Rhizome. Or has performed at the MoMA PS1, X-Initiative, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, as well as traditional music venues around the world.