off the shelf
January 2023 will mark the fourth anniversary of the publication of Silence on Loan and its subsequent inclusion in the Artists’ Book Collection at Winchester School of Art Library. Published in the form of a 10” vinyl record, Silence on Loan sits shyly on the library shelf at 741.64 HEG: Four years of dust and silence have now come to rest in the silent groove cut into its surface.
Every year there is a free performance of Silence on Loan at WSA Library, which this year will take place on Monday the 16th of January; coincidently the birthday of my mother, who died twelve years ago. In 2022 the Silence was performed without an audience there to hear. This year the performance is open again to the public and to the arbitrary ear of all library users. As with previous iterations, all those there to hear and those who’s listening the silence borrows, will be offered a commemorative hand-made pin badge, produced exclusively for the ‘event’. As an ‘event’ the performance of Silence on Loan is unremarkably low noise and low-key: an uneventful twenty minutes in which Silence is taken from the shelf, placed on a portable turntable, and rotated at 33 revolutions per minute. The arm of the turntable is swung gently over the edge of the vinyl ellipse, and the needle dropped damply into the silent spiral of the groove. Nine or so minutes later the needle is lifted out of the locked rut of the run-off loop and Silence taken from the platter and returned to its place on the library shelf. This small inconspicuous ritual marks the end of Silence for another year, and is occasionally greeted with a closing, discreet ripple of bookish applause.
Silence on Loan
annual performance with free badge
Winchester School of Art Library
To make Silence available to listeners around the world, the performance will also be broadcast live via Instagram: @sebastiane_hegarty