In this project, participants are asked to write their mobile phone number on the gallery wall, with no other identifying personal information. In exchange, they must note down the number that was left by the participant before them and cross it out with a black marker (only one phone number is displayed on the gallery wall at a time). The participant is then instructed to call the number when convenient and say nothing. On answering the phone to this silent caller, the receiver is also directed to exchange no words. Instead both participants are asked to spend time on the line together, hanging up when either decides they’ve had enough.
Say Nothing asks viewers to publicly display their private phone number and enter an unusual contract. The aim is to create a private one-on-one experience that withholds a participant’s desire to connect with another. There is, of course, no assurance that participants obey their instructions and there is no documentation of the calls. The only traces of participation are the effaced numbers on the gallery wall.
Say Nothing was exhibited as part of my VCA Master of Fine Art Exhibition at Margaret Lawrence Gallery in 2011. It was also shown at Seventh Gallery as part of a solo exhibition, Missed Connections, in 2012.