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The Silent Shout

Miniature sound installations concealed in mailed packages invade and travel through the public space

by Nara Shin
on 21 April 2014

With thought-provoking art projects like "Geometric Porn" (an exercise in which simple shapes can imply something much more powerful—and, in this case, erotic) and "Enlighten the Unpredictable" (a hypothetical trail of a particle in random Brownian motion sculpted into a fragile neon light installation), multidisciplinary London and Berlin-based artist Luciano Foglia never fails to turn abstract, highbrow concepts into something relatable, applicable and very human. Foglia is not only a designer (with one of the most creative portfolio websites we've seen) but also a passionate musician. Before even entering the design world, he'd been making mixes and sound experiments at an early age, and he's given some of these tracks to the Free Music Archive community.


Foglia's latest endeavor blends his ear for experimental music with his design mindset. Described as "sound travel across the silent path of global mail" or better yet, "traveling sonic graffiti," "The Silent Shout" is a unique platform conceived by Foglia and fellow artist Bas Horsting. Together, they built an unassuming box that contains a speaker, a small chip (the type that's used in those greeting cards that sing) and batteries to power it for almost 16 days. Five artists will be asked to create whatever audio they wish (that the chip can handle), from spoken word to a disco song or an abstract soundscape. The artist will write the addresses, but once shipped, the path that the package takes is a mystery.


The idea behind "The Silent Shout" is that the box will continually emit the artist's piece at random intervals as it travels to its final destination. The beauty of these sound works is that its audience will be entirely accidental—catching unprepared people off guard—and perhaps uncertain of the source they will question if they heard something at all. We think of it as an updated version of the age-old philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and someone accidentally hears it, does it change the sound?

"We've been planning installation works concerning invading the public space with graffiti-like, spontaneous, unannounced or even random art—whether it be visual or auditory—and this is one of them," Foglia tells CH. "It's all about wanting to give something real, unexpected, unannounced, re-molding reality for even a small moment in time. Not within the context of an art gallery or other elitist space, but in anybody's life, anywhere, for no apparent reason."


The first artist to participate in the project is Eindhoven, Netherlands-based artist Dick Verdult, who performs under the stage name Dick El Demasiado. Both a visual artist and musician, Verdult is a staple figure in the Buenos Aires experimental Cumbia music scene.

Each artist is allotted five boxes to send out. Verdult has chosen a diverse roster of locations, almost guaranteeing a higher number of accidental listeners: Saint Petersburg, Russia; Vatican City; Distrito Federal, Mexico; Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and Asunción, Paraguay. Keep an ear out whenever you pass by a mailbox in the near future, and be sure to check out "The Silent Shout" website to stay updated regarding future participating artists.

Images courtesy of The Silent Shout

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