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19.07, Art & Design

Silent pavilion merging acoustic ecology and social engineering

Author: Yulia Gromova

Preservation of Silence, a new installation by sound artist and Strelka alumnus Sergey Kasich, has opened in Moscow’s Gorky Park. A hybrid project at the intersection of art, experimental architecture, acoustic ecology, and social engineering, it aims to protect silence in contemporary cities.

Using technologies and methods usually employed in sound recording studios, concert halls, and acoustic test laboratories, Kasich and his co-authors have created a special structure to “fence in” the silence. The project was created in collaboration with architectural firm Skhema, sound engineer Filipp Sologub, and designer Zoran Stamenkovic.

Special materials and architectural and engineering solutions allow for a high level of echo absorption inside the pavilion, which has no roof or doors.

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Photos by Ivan Erofeev

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Photos by Ivan Erofeev

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Photos by Ivan Erofeev

“It’s interesting to see how people behave inside the installation,” Kasich says. “Everyone who enters it, including kids and teenagers, lower their voices or start whispering—even if they haven’t read the description. Is it because of a sudden presence of another person or unconscious element of the ‘temple-like’ design of the structure, or an even more basic reflex to the deafening silence at the entrance?”

The installation is a new form of public space that enables the development of new types of entertainment and ethics of interaction in an environment that stimulates quiet open-air activities. “I want people to try different ways of spending their leisure time,” Kasich says. He adds that the space can be used for quiet open-air concerts, performances, or perhaps yoga sessions.

Photos by Ivan Erofeev

The installation was built as part of the Garage Art and Technology grant program, which supports individual and collective art projects in the fields of IT, engineering, and science art. Kasich won the grant in 2017.

The concept of Preservation of Silence was first presented in 2013 as a result of Kasich’s research at Strelka Institute.

You can find the pavilion here.