Now Is The Time To Say Nothing, an interactive sound and video installation exploring the role of screens in observing global conflicts, coming to Battersea Arts Centre this autumn (Wed 2 Oct 2019 – Sat 19 Oct 2019).
Audiences take a seat in an armchair, put on their headphones and go beyond the headlines with stunning video and immersive sound as filmmaker Reem Karssli and artist Caroline Williams connect them with Reem’s human story of the Syrian conflict.
Now Is The Time To Say Nothing is a provocation against armchair passivity, following the real story of Syrian artist Reem Karssli as she captures her daily experience of the Syrian conflict on camera. We see what emerges when she is contacted by a group of teenagers from the UK who want to see beyond the footage they’ve watched on their TVs.
Together they co-author an experience which attempts to connect a UK audience to the human story behind the news. Created over four years, following Reem into an exile which forces her to leave her camera behind, Now Is The Time To Say Nothing is an intimate exploration of what it means to stay connected to each other and of what happens when war and the need for survival gets in the way.
Now Is The Time To Say Nothing was originally produced as part of the Young Vic’s Taking Part programme. The completed work was recently presented as part of Mayfest 2018 in Bristol, and returned to the city at Bristol Old Vic in February 2019 as part of a national tour. In July 2019 it was presented as part of Galway International Festival.
Caroline Williams said:
In 2014 I was asked to do a performance project with a group of young Londoners looking at the Syrian conflict. As a white non-Arabic speaking artist who'd never been to the Middle East I was trying to work out how, or if, I should do the project.
In a research period I watched Every Day, Every Day an intimate and beautiful film by Syrian filmmaker Reem Karssli about everyday life in Damascus for a family trying to navigate the growing war. I contacted Reem and told her about the work I was doing and asked if she'd be interested in meeting the young people through Skype to talk about her work and her life. What followed was a four year long collaboration, making a piece of work that has grown and contracted alongside a war which has lasted longer than World War II. It would be trite to try to sum up the experience of making this piece. We all hope the work speaks for itself.
Exquisitely simple and moving. This is a really special show
(Lyn Gardner, The Guardian)
If the essence of theatre is an invitation to imagine that we are someone else and for a moment to see the world through their eyes, then this is truly theatre at its most essential.
(Tom Morris, Artistic Director, Bristol Old Vic)
Now Is The Time To Say Nothing is one of the most powerful and beautiful pieces I’ve seen in a long time.
(Mike Tweddle, Artistic Director, Tobacco Factory Theatres)
Now Is The Time To Say Nothing depicts the Syrian conflict not as we normally see it - but as we should see it.
A noble and valuable work
(The Fix Magazine)
It’s an act as instinctive and multi - layered as a hug. It’s full of conflict, full of genuinely unanswerable questions, full of love.
(Timothy X Atack, Sleepdogs)