What forces could silence a person, a community, or even a civilization? Collapsing Silence is a Source Festival artistic blind date between visual artist David Carlson, composer John Moletress and choreographer Ilana Faye Silverstein. It’s a successful collabroation that is both visually and conceptually interesting.
Collapsing Silence consists of a series of small sequences. While they are not explicitly connected, they have stylistic similarities and the work, though abstract, seems to find an artistic through line.
The set consists of two opposing walls or portals, one clear and one white, connected by a white plastic runway on the floor. The white wall serves as the backdrop for several fascinating projected sequences by David Carlson, some involving filtered color or changing focus.
With the introduction of a globe and a figure in white scrubs and goggles in the opening scene, the program suggests a sense of cosmic transcendence. We are in a darkened room lit at different times by Carlson’s projected images, two white fluorescence bars, or a colored bank of lights. The setting and the evocative background music of John Moletress makes the piece feel like an extended meditation.
The artists explore several different means of causing silence, from natural disasters to differences in language, to censorship. Both the dance and the actions often feature opposing forces or efforts to decipher meaning through science and language.
Some of the abstract concepts may be difficult to understand at first. Yet the dancing of Ilana Faye Silverstein and the suggestive silent performances of Silverstein and Moletress are consistently absorbing.
Audiences are best advised just to go with the mood and the feeling of Collapsing Silence. It is a compelling piece and, at 35 minutes, you will have plenty of time to contemplate it afterwards.
Collapsing Silence performs again June 25 at 3pm and July 3 at 3pm.
Visual Artist: David Carlson
Director and Composer: John Moletress
Director and Choreographer: Ilana Faye Silverstein
Produced by The Source Festival
Reviewed by Steven McKnight
Running time: 35 min