One of the cool evenings I and my friend were conversing seriously on Art and artists. She was going through some of my published articles and said you have written considerably on the aesthetics of Silence. I took a breath extra length and started thinking about that. Evenings of end of July month in Hyderabad are comfortable enough though the occasional heat of clouds passing in the airs. Those rain filled clouds are unpredictable of their down pouring and mien of their overcast. Humidity in the breeze is like silent waters hiding their depths.
What is silence? While thinking more about that word, I remembered Kirti’s paintings. K. Kirti is a painter living in Hyderabad cannot speak and listen. Her painting compositions surprisingly are completely silent at the vocal cords of the figures and forms she paints. There is no movement of the neck and the facial muscles in her images and her compositions are like still waters. Those muscles do not move along with the sound of words spoken as it is in the case of speech movements. But her paintings are the storehouses of many feelings, outburst of expressions of her mind, sentences of her thoughts expressed in complete quietness. They explain what is quietness, perfect example for visual communication, a world of its own and different from the world of speech.
The visual language is unprecedented being silent, not being loud, de-centered and marginalized to a corner, excluded from the intimacy of any bonding within. But the situation is other way round. The silent visual art object engages with its ‘other’, that is the viewer. The physical presence of the visual art objects though it is mute, and the voice of the viewers, are alerting each-other. Both are mutually pushing each other in to the position of ‘self’ and ‘other’. Both these, ‘self’ and ‘other’ participate to redefine the incidents dialogically and mutually. Art object must be echoing the reference of its communicating expressions when the people watch them to understand its quietness. The presence of this visual language is present as well as absent in the scenario. Artist create the crucible of this language of silence, a work of visual art, but pushed the responsibility on its shoulder while exploiting the nature of its silence to bear the identity in its title. Kirti’s paintings are deeply explaining, what that silence is and the silent depths of visual language communications.
Silence of visual language
Visual language has a mute communication, a silent language. This effort is to read the silence of visual language and its silent presence. On translating the theme/concept of visual language the emphasis might transgress into many directions because this mute language cannot be assertive on the direct verbal communication. It lends itself for the interpretation. Reading such language is locating that voice that is un-obvious. Is its silence treated as primordial ‘other’ as anthropological object? Does it ‘s silence kept itself quiet at a corner in the context of communication? The art objects have the language of a mute person who is a stone-deaf and who would stand for a definition of vacuum of words. That silent object’s presence is like Mr.Augustin in Georgina Hardings narrative story ‘Painter of Silence’. He was transferred from one person to another for his care taking. His personal life communication is only through the paintings he does. They held no meaning till they were interpreted. He was transferred to his biological father who was found at the end of the storyline. He takes Augustin along with him because he would be helpful in his horse stable work. His biological father starts singing on his way back to mountain woods, with his peacock crack voice, while enjoying his ride along with wine and cheese. Because he was used for his lonely rides all the time. While singing he realizes the presence of his newly-found son beside him. He became conscious for a while. But he happily continued realizing the fact that Augustin is equivalent to absence and of no presence. This stone dead person is like trees on somebody’s way and make the presence full of life but cannot say anything on their own. They provide the way side shade, quiet and un-uttering and non-participating. They can make the marking of the path for people’s riding but cannot direct the way. Silence of visual language also falls under the similar similitude.
As traditional Aesthetic theories of ‘Bharata’s Natya Sastra’s understanding goes, Santa Rasa is silence and quietness of meditation and even the vacuum of enlightenment and white in color representation. But the silence is not the vacuum as for as the visual language is concerned. It is an ocean of feelings. Visual language is like an eye of the cyclone that can express the feelings out in forms and figures, it can astonish the viewer with colorful imaginative inputs, has its own assertions of communication.
Experiencing the Silence
What must be the space of silence in the arena of experiences? Is it that space that is in between the sounds of bells ringing? Does that gap signify the silence?
There is a voice and the silence alternates in the dance of rain drops. There is a silence inside the window glass when the outside of that window is filled with whispering of rain drops.
That window becomes the witness for the swinging heart beats inside the window, rejuvenated by the singing rain drops outside the glass plane. Stunningly dark silent night has protected both, swinging beats and singing rain.
Yet another silence become home for the unfathomable currents of huge waters inside the oceans or rivers. Silence is not a vacuum. It is one more melodious expression, a language that is communicated with a difference. A depth of layers is cozily embracing each other in this communication.
Silence can be similar to that sight of deep valleys. Imagine those valley depths are filled with white clouds, mischievously hiding all its vegetation inside, showing us those valleys as plain as earth. Silence is pregnant of thoughts about to deliver many sensitive communications.
Sublime is the example for silence-loaded with many unutterable thoughts. When the words are more than the speaking limits then one adapts silence.
The pleasures of sky bending down to kiss the earth at horizon,
when the breeze cooling the sweat drops,
trees standing still for the breeze to break its modesty,
winds turning the waves in its wilderness of mating with waters,
fuming evenings’ heat waves of earth waiting for the soothing Moon rays to enter its bed, when the hollow sky receives the vapors of magnitude as clouds, are impregnated with silence.
Pleasure and pain cross the boundary limits to form one plane of quietness without differentiating that is silence. Kevat helping Lord Sri Rama to cross the Ganges is the silent pleasure enjoyed along with the sad feeling of departing with Rama. Painful breaking of the womb for the pleasure of viewing a tiny life is a silent pleasure. Silent metamorphosis of breaking the cocoon to colorful fly is a nature’s phenomenon silently followed.
Silence is an antonym of what it represents. Silence represents impregnated meanings, expressions, unspoken words accumulated on emotions.