Ilya Kaminsky, I See a Silence
Ukrainian/American poet Ilya Kaminsky’s work Deaf Republic was heralded as one of the most original books of 2019.
I See a Silence, his new lyric work for Artangel, combined poetry and prose to form the centrepiece of a soundscape for walking the Ness, produced by acclaimed audio designer Axel Kacoutié with the voices of Neil Brennan, Ilya Kaminsky and Zakia Sewell.
Drawn to the singular ecology of the landscape and the flora and fauna that both preceded and survived decades of weapons research, Kaminsky’s ‘poetry of place’ uncannily evoked a landscape of the imagination. The journey began at the Bomb Ballistics building, where a panoramic viewing platform looks out across the vast shingle stretching towards the sea.
Visitors were able to experience I See a Silence whilst wearing headphones and walking between the different buildings on Orford Ness.
An ode to the mundanity and madness of the high street, told through the window of an African hair salon.
What is the etymology of your being?
Axel Kacoutié offers a vivid personal essay reflecting on language, bilingualism and the curated gaps they have to navigate in order to access their culture and sense of self.
“Your language is a spell, an invocation speaking you into existence, rediscovering the contours of your morality, the fabric of your race and gender and how you relate to others and the world…”
Featuring the voices of the poet Raymond Antrobus and performance artist Rachel Cheung, Axel weaves together the thoughts of a number of multilingual people – including Derick Armah, Irina Niculescu, Mauricio Loseto, Olivia Melkonian, Radhika Viswanathan and Rosel Jackson Stern – into a reflection on living between languages and finding yourself in the gaps.
Illustration: Erin Tse
Animation: Luke Dye-Montefiore
Produced by Axel Kacoutié
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4