The Great Silence

The Great Silence (2014)


The Great Silence focuses on the world’s largest single aperture radio telescope, located in Esperanza, Puerto Rico, which transmits and captures radio waves to and from the farthest edges of the universe. This site is also home to the last remaining wild population of endangered Puerto Rican parrots, Amazona vittata, who make their habitat in the surrounding Rio Abajo forest. Allora & Calzadilla collaborated with science fiction author Ted Chiang on a subtitled script that explores translation as a device to trace and ponder the irreducible gaps between living, nonliving, human, animal, technological, and cosmic actors. In the spirit of a fable, the subtitled story presents the bird’s observations on humans’ search for life outside this planet, while using the concept of vocal learning—something that both parrots and humans have in common—as a source of reflection upon acousmatic voices, ventriloquisms, and the vibrations that form the basis of speech and the universe itself.

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Directing Jennifer Allora Director
Directing Guillermo Calzadilla Director