The Silent Room is a site of absence located within the contemporary city. It is designed to be a functional part of the city, existing alongside shops, market places, office buildings, construction sites, traffic. It offers an experience that contrasts with its surroundings and responds to the emotional conditions produced by them.
To be in the city is to be the centre of an unceasing flow of information; whether as worker, shopper, tourist or street-dweller, you are the point at which a vast number of data-rich networks continually intersect. You are subject to a sensory experience that as well as being vibrant, diverse and humanly expressive, can contain elements of overabundance, manipulation, and even violence. It has also been shown that if you’re at the bottom of the economic scale, you’re more likely to feel the worst effects of this inundation: the city’s poorest people live in its most densely populated areas, close to the constant assault of motorways, airports and industry.
The Silent Room proposes a space, available to all, in which the quantity of information present in the city is radically reduced. It frees you to hear, see and touch in a context of extreme spareness. As you enter the Silent Room, you leave the city behind and are returned to yourself.
Future iterations of the Silent Room are to be installed in places of the greatest public accessibility and need. This includes neighborhoods afflicted by excessive noise pollution and currently lacking in spaces of privacy and quiet, and at sites of conflict and trauma.
The Silent Room v.02 will represent Lebanon at the London design Biennale 2018, at the Somerset house starting September 4th.
The Silent Room v.01 was installed the first time in Beirut in 2017 between two low income neighborhoods, a highway and industrial area. It remained for 14 days.
It relocated in 2018 in Jeanne d’Arc street in Hamra in 2018, in a wasteland where a building had been put down a few months before.