We’re introducing Night Mode … Try it out with the sun/moon icon at the top left. Or change font settings with the ‘A’ to make the site work for you.
Got it
The ICA will be on general strike on Fri 20 Oct. Read more
0 / 256
Present Silence
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Sun 22 Oct – Sun 10 Dec 2023

In black and white film, a person sits on a small homemade floatation platform in a river
Two Years At Sea, dir. Ben Rivers, UK 2011, English, 88 min., U

Present Silence is a season of contemporary documentary films that provide a quiet space for contemplation and focus, reframing silence not as an uncomfortable absence of sound but as its own enriching presence.

The programme encompasses a variety of documentary subjects captured thoughtfully by artists and filmmakers including Sharon Lockhart, Wang Bing, Ben Rivers and Philip Gröning. Ranging from Double Tide’s static document of coastal labour to Man With No Name’s mobile study of a cave-dweller, Two Years At Sea’s solitary hermit to Into Great Silence’s collective of Carthusian monks, every film is united by their delicate attention to silence as an asset that reveals rather than takes away.

By undertaking the vow of silence that comes with the cinema experience, audiences are invited to communicate not through words but through experience, sharing concentration and contemplation through the screen and with each other.
Present Silence is presented in partnership with The National Film and Television School and curated by Matthew Smolenski.

A clam digger drags their boat through a beautiful river under dawn light

Sun 22 Oct, 6pm
Double Tide
A portrait of intense physical labour against the landscape of coastal Maine at its most beautiful.

In black and white, a man with long hair and a beard stares off, in a grassy field

Sun 12 Nov, 4:30pm
Two Years at Sea + Q&A
A Scottish hermit’s solitary forest existence brought to life on hand-processed 16mm black and white film.

A Chinese man sits in his homemade home, tending to a vegetable. His clothes are covered in dirt

Sun 26 Nov, 4pm
Man With No Name 无名者
A tactile and visceral study of hermetic life in China by artist Wang Bing.

Robed monks carry on their duties in a dimly lit hall

Sun 10 Dec, 4pm
Into Great Silence
Philip Gröning’s documentary, over twenty years in the making, provides unprecedented access to the lives of Carthusian monks in the French Alps.