Li-E Chen, 26 January 2013

1* I am interested in ‘measuring the weight of silence’.

1.1 Please tell me your story of silence.

1.11 I want to measure silence with a piece of brown paper.

1.12 Li opens a white envelope and takes a piece of brown paper out.

1.13 She is holding the piece of brown paper in the air and give one to you as a gift.

1.2 Please tell me what the weight is. I don't what it is but I call this the weight of


1.21 Could you please tell me your story of silence?

2 What is the weight—a fact—is the intensities of your cases.

2.1 We talked about observing silence, like the 11th minute of the 11th hour. When

you watched some body, the way they move, active area of the brain. So you observe

silence watching other people being still. We talked about John Cage's 4'33, we talked

about Robert Wilson's silence and lecture “1 Have your been here before. 2 No this is

the first time.”, we talked about Samuel Beckett's “Waiting for Godots”, we talked

about what if the Prime Minister announces the world is going to end tomorrow and

what the weight is.

2.011 One person said that, he had a long silence with a girl for 1 hour, and then she

broke the silence by asking him to open a window, then they talked for 10 hours.

Death and Silence - The longer an uncomfortable silence continuous the harder it is to

‘lift’ it.

2.012 Somebody's voice carries ‘weight’.

2.0121 One person said, he did a performance which included 20mins silence, it was

a bit disaster because it was too much for audience to be confronted by this. The

question “Where did you go on holiday?” was asked of an autistic man, who replied

after 20 mins “why do you want to know?” A third of audience walked out, the director

was counting in his head because it was unbearable to see the audience's discomfort

about the situation. One audience who is the actor's brother who screamed and left.

2.0122 One person said, “I don't think silence can have any weight unless somebody

observe. It has to have participation by a person or one/more people.”

2.0123 Li said, “I would like to bring the brown paper and let participants to experience

what I mean about the weight of silence. And through this process, they can observe

and being observed the ‘weight’. This is the only to explain what my understanding of

it, i cannot explain it. I will bring the brown paper in tomorrow. It is to do a process of

observation and participation.”

2.01231 Someone said, “There must be a way you could find an equation to find the

weight of silence….. The duration of silence has different levels of intensities, it

changes…. How soon can you laugh about something?”

2.0124 Most of us often thought about different ‘qualities’ of silence, but Li wants to

think more about ‘weight’ in a literal way. It is not something so much about ‘quality’ of

silence, silence has ‘weight’, different ‘weight’ and intensities.

2.013 “Is the silence heavy or light?” The problem Li is having is that it always comes

back to the fact most of us would think about different qualities of silence. In fact, this

is the problem of theatre and performing arts, the qualities become the

representational of something that is happening, whereas the weight will be

measurable and repeatable in the context as a ‘living’ form, we will be able to repeat

the intensity of it without loosing the essence of it.

2.0131 (Li has trouble of explaining her case now.)

2.014 Who is hearing the silence? And how they react to it.

2.0141 Someone suggested, you can ask people to tell you about their stories of


2.02 Could you please tell me your story of silence?












“7 What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” Ludwig Wittgenstein -

Tractatus Logico Philosophicus

Please note, the report of writing this article is an experiment inspired by the DandD8

conversation and L Wittgenstein's writing.

Please listen to our original discussion via Sound Cloud

(People participated in the discussion: Micha Colombo, Tim Culingford, Jaye Kearney,

Steven Whinnery, Tassos Stevens, Niki Karali, Kath Burtinson, Simon Bowes, Hugh

Chapman, Lee, Pete Cant, many others at the DandD8.)

Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.

“We forget that there are two possible climaxes to a theatre experience. There is the

climax of celebration in which our participation explodes in stamping and cheering,

shouts of hurrah and the roar of hands, or else, at the other end of the stick, the climax

of silence - another form of recognition and appreciation of experience shared.” Peter

Brook - The Empty Space - The Holy Theatre

“An artist has to understand silence. An artist has to create a space for silence to enter

his work…” Marina Abramovic - An Artist's Life Manifesto

keywords: case, situation, fact, intensities, …



visual arts, multiplicities, invisible, performance making, qualities, weight, vacuum,

brown paper, THEATRE, unspeakable, theatre, mind, Theatre, intensities, silence,


Comments: 2

Li-E Chen, 27 January 2013

After this morning, I decided that I will never try to explain about what I am doing. It is not possible for the work to be

discussed and talked about. It is just a gift for people who are there with me.

Li-E Chen, 28 January 2013

Duration of silence in weight.

Mapping multiplicities

A story that you tell is only part of this ‘flat land’

It was my mistake to think that I should be trying to explain my work. Explanation can damage my thoughts and artworks,

and makes me very nervous and a bit crazy. But after yesterday, I realized that discussion and explanation are not possible

in the context of my works. It is like: ‘How can you explain nothing to me? It is nothing; therefore there is nothing to discuss’.

It is the expression of non-expression of an assemblage. Yesterday I figured out that instead of explanation I will try to

express it as an assemblage, a non-fixed assemblage where a story you tell is part of a flat dimension, and another story

you tell is also part of this flat dimension, and so on. So don’t worry, there is nothing to understand, nothing to explain, just a

story to tell, a story of your experience in silence. In this flat land, there are only intensities and multiplicities. What am I

building with this weight of silence? A city, an art museum, or just an art work, it is all, it doesn't matter what it is, it is

changing all the time. Assemblages of thoughts give peace to my mind, mapping out an assemblage and never trying to

explain myself.

Would you like to share your story of silence?