[rumori] Yet More British Silence

From: UbuEditor (ubuwebATyahoo.com)
Date: Sun Nov 11 2001 - 05:37:56 PST

This is now turning into a silence epidemic:

> BC-Britain-Sound of Silence
> Artist releases double compact disk containing ... silence
> LONDON (AP) _ For conceptual artist Jonty Semper, silence
> is not only golden. It's art.
> To mark Armistice Day on Sunday, Semper is releasing
> «Kenotaphion,» a two-CD set costing 16 pounds (dlrs 23)
> featuring 70 years of collected national two-minute
> silences remembering Britain's war dead.
> The long, long silence is broken only by the sound of
> coughing, children crying or shuffling feet.
> «All the silences are quite distinctive,» Semper told
> The Guardian newspaper in an interview published Friday.
> «What is remarkable is how different they are. I really
> don't think people will find it boring. This is raw
> history.»
> Semper spent four years collecting all surviving
> recordings of silences observed at Armistice Day ceremonies
> at the Cenotaph monument to war dead in London. The
> earliest comes from a British Movie-tone newsreel of 1929.
> A government committee first came up with the idea of an
> Armistice ceremony in 1919 to mark the first anniversary of
> Armistice Day, the end of World War I. The two-minute
> silence was suggested by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, a former
> British High Commissioner to South Africa, to honor war
> dead.
> By tradition, much of the country still comes to a
> standstill on the 11th hour of the 11th day of November,
> the 11th month to remember those who died in Britain's
> wars.
> But since 1994, the main Armistice Day ceremony has been
> held on the nearest Sunday.
> Oxford University history lecturer Adrian Gregory, an
> authority on Armistice Day, said Semper's recording comes
> «at a peculiarly appropriate time, when the (U.S. terror
> attacks) of Sept. 11 have renewed interest worldwide in the
> idea of observing a two-minute silence as a public
> affirmation of solidarity.»
> «The absence of sound (is) an absence which is also a
> highly political presence,» Gregory said.
> Semper, who also released a recording of the silence
> observed at the 1997 funeral of Princess Diana, was unable
> to include any silences from 1941 to 1944, when ceremonies
> were suspended because Britain was again at war.
> He has not evened out the variable sound qualities, so the
> chimes of London's Big Ben, which start the silence, are
> blaring some years and faint in others.
> (scl/ren)
> 091140 nov 01GMT
> Copyright (c) 2001 The Associated Press
> Received by NewsEDGE/LAN: 11/9/01 12:41 PM



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