One Second of Silence, (Part. 02, Rotterdam), 2009, looped HD video projection, silent, 20’28”
A flag blows in the wind. It is transparent, colourless and bears no symbols. From time to time it amalgamates with the clouds in the background. At these moments sky and flag become one. A few seconds later a gentle air current catches the transparent fabric and entices the flag out of its invisibility, transforming its movements into a poetic dance. The images are shot from slightly below, as if one were to gaze at the sky for minutes at a time. In the stable, still frame air and wind become tangible.
The video production One Second of Silence (2008/2009) by the Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt subtly poses the question: how would it be if national flags were to lose their colours, symbols and thus their meaning? Would borders still exist? Would the world be a peaceful place? The artist has deprived the flag of its complex reference system and staged it as a kind of void. The symbol of demarcation, the unity of a country, its political beliefs and economic power is reduced to the material comprising the flag: a pole, a mounting and a rectangular piece of fabric. This is a zero point at which everything begins and ends.
The title One Second of Silence references the minute of commemoration in which we collectively pay our respects to the deceased and the casualties. In this brief minute the flow of everyday life is halted, our drive to progress is paused and a phase of silence and stillness is initiated. Memories arise and at an individual level one can bid farewell to those who will no longer be there. Commemoration lacks any religious formulation and thus creates the possibility of a fully subjective reflection. Dekyndt has transformed the minute of silence into a mere second and presents the work – in the highest degree of ambiguity – in an endless video loop. Real-time and experienced-time are no longer on par and in the endlessness of the projection; real time is no longer measurable.
The video work One Second of Silence can even function as a kind of void. It creates a space in which one can consider the meaning of flags, national borders and democracy. Dekyndt does not demand any solutions and does not make any moral appeals – instead she creates an emptiness that can be filled with a moment of silent contemplation.
Edith Dekyndt (1960, Tournai, Belgium) has distributed her artistic practices over a wide range of media, spanning from drawing and sculpture, to installation and video. In all of her works she turns towards strategies of separation, colour becomes a characteristic in and of itself, which is articulated in bodyless forms, in stains of oil, or in the form of gas in a room. In her drawing works, Dekyndt turns these moments of separation into their opposite extreme, into imprints of symbiosis. Her work has been featured in international institutions, including: Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2009; the Mac’s Grand’Hornu, 2010; Moma, New York, 2010; FRAC Lorraine, Metz, 2010; the Contemporary Art Museum, Hiroshima, 2009.