A Bottomless Silence was not conceived for an online platform, but was intended to be viewed within the walls of the Wallach Art Gallery alongside other student projects. But in the face of the unprecedented circumstances caused by the spread of COVID-19, such an exhibition is no longer possible. Instead, we rely on this online platform to share some images, text, and film.
The works presented here speak to the processes of recording, our attempts to make meaning of the remnants of the past, and the insurmountability of the silences that nonetheless permeate history. I hope that in this moment, as we live through these extraordinary events we can probe and question the various forces that determine which stories are told and how we come to understand them.
The artists in A Bottomless Silence—Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Jumana Manna, and Walid Raad—investigate the vastness of the silences that permeate the histories surrounding us. They engage with the past by probing the powers that mediate our relationship to it, to reimagine our experiences of the present and the future. The exhibition takes its name from a passage in the anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s text Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, which examines the writing of history and the multitude of ways that silences can enter into its production.