Saturday, 19 January 2008

silent shelters

I found this picture of my sister, cousin and myself lounging under a tent made from my Dad's Moroccan blanket a few years ago when I was going through some old photos at home, and I made a painting of it. We used to make a lot of tents in the summer, the simplest was constructed from a big green umbrella with some kind of sheet draped over the top to make it completely private. Then of course there were house-tents made with chairs and sheets, and filled with cushions.

I was talking with my sister this morning about making tents, and working in silence - two ideas that came to me out of the lab project meeting last week. I want to do a simple activity with others in silence; maybe to re-enact the enjoyment of making a temporary shelter with sheets and pegs, and explore working together without telling each-other what to do. Floss told me about her friend Dawn who has been on some two week long silence retreats, where speaking is forbidden and even eye-contact is discouraged. Eventually incredible closeness is created, though normal means of communication are frustrated: in this community incidental body contact produces a real intensity, quite apart from the bumping into each-other that we experience everyday that we even become numb to in our cover-crowded city.

I find this alternative communication really interesting, and I would like to propose getting together in a small group next Friday and making a very simple tent in silence. Other activities like cooking or lighting fires - quite basic communal tasks -could also be done this way, to explore communicating and negotiating without using voices. It may or may not work, but it could be an interesting experiment!

If anyone is interested in joining me next Friday in Victoria park with some blankets and pegs, reply to this post with a comment. I propose to document it with photography, and film or sound recording. If it rains, maybe we can make an indoor tent.


Veronika Hauer said...

Hi mulvey
Ich hatte heute morgen auch die idee dich bei deinem zeltbau mit meiner kamera zu dokumentieren. ich glaube ich werde die stille beim aufnehmen sehr geniessen, so see you later in liquid space.

Charlotte said...

Hi Marianne,
Sounds like a good idea! It would be an interesting experiment, I'd love to join in! You might have to give me a clue of how to get to Victoria Park though. I'll speak to you in class on Wednesday about it. I also have some initial ideas for an experiment too but I'll divulge all on Thursday at Vikki's house.
See you Wednesday x

Amy said...

Hey Marianne

Sounds good but i cant make it next friday as i am working. i could however contribute some materials if you need there anything in particular that you need?

Marianne Mulvey said...

Victoria Park: nearest station is Bethnal Green. I could meet people there?
Charlotte, blog your ideas!! I want to see them. x

Anonymous said...

Hi Marianne,
i will love to join you! i really like this silent gathering while poducing tends with any material we have or find!! very interesting experiment! I will also bring my camera!
see you thursday,

Margit Neuhold said...

hi marianne,
super! I see you all there!! Let us know, if there is anything we could bring along ...

Marianne Mulvey said...

hello silent campers. I propose each bringing some sort of sheet/blanket/beadspread and maybe a cushion - things that you dont mind getting muddy and can be washed. I will get hold of some pegs and string... I was thinking that some kind of wood off-cuts would be useful too - I shall investigate where to get these. If I can't find them I think/hope pegging fabric to branches will work, or improvising in the park. We can discuss materials on Thursday, and what to do if it rains.

Might be good to start relatively early 11 or 12am OK? and eat sandwiches in the tent!!

til tomorrow. x

NB NEW DIRECTIONS: tube to Mile End and bus 277 to Victoria Park. There is a road through the park - you cant miss it - get off at the bus stop in the middle of the park. walk up towards the park entrance at the top, opposite the Royal Inn pub. Lets meet there:,183738&st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf