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The Coming Silence

The Coming Silence is a site-based performance installation that aims a critical eye at the divisions humans create between themselves and the rest of the biotic world. Crafted so that the performing bodies are spread throughout a given area, audiences may move among the performing bodies at their own pace. As audience members meander through this ‘museum’, they may witness subtle shifts of the body, both in space and between various animal and human states, as well as the contrast between members of the audience and the performers. This style of engagement helps call into question the voyeuristic role of the audience in supporting the taxidermic display, while also offering food for thought in terms of the divisions/hierarchies humans create in relation to the animal kingdom.

By placing humans in similar circumstances in which we place extinct animals, The Coming Silence comments on the larger notion of human extinction, whether through viral, climatic or ecological crises. The work highlights humanity’s ethical dilemmas in the Anthropocene, asking: shall this bizarre taxidermic future be our fate, or can we alter our path, protecting other species as we would have ourselves protected (for example, by reducing pressures on wildlife that exacerbate viral transmission)?

An in-process showing of The Coming Silence occurred as part of TRAction’s ‘Procession for End Times II’ in September 2020 with audiences progressing through space as part of honouring the loss of the Milne Ice Shelf and arriving on Prince’s Island Park to witness The Coming Silence. The work will premiere on site in 2021 with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.