An encounter with the overwhelming beauty that is revealed when engaging with the world with sight and hearing.
The Silence that Remains
Juan Carlos was my dearest friend. Then he died very suddenly and left behind a huge silence. Afterwards, I found a newspaper clipping in my mailbox about a blind ornithologist who was passionate about birds. Juan Carlos had left it there for me. It served as my introduction to the spellbinding world of winged beings. Who would have thought that it would take a blind person to teach me how to see?
José Carlos Sires has been blind since the age of six. As an ornithologist, he is able to identify nearly 200 bird species that he cannot see by their songs or calls. “…It’s not that blind people have sharper hearing, but more a case of sighted people not taking the trouble to make good use of what they have…”
Those are a few excerpts from a newspaper article that my partner and best friend, Juan Carlos, left in my mailbox a few weeks before he died. He knew me better than anyone else, so he knew I would not be able to resist going out to the country and closing my eyes. I like to think that he left me that clipping behind as a kind of errand, an encounter with the kind of beauty that just takes your breath away when it is evoked by the two main ways of perceiving the world: sight and hearing.
This project has led me to explore in greater depth some of the themes that have proven essential in my work as an artist, such as mechanisms of non-verbal communication, the relation between animal nature, blindness, and absence, the search for subjective truth, and the effects of blind chance and/or the unconscious.
The film is structured around the WhatsApps audio messages that José Carlos and I exchanged over a period of two years. Together with Ana, my editor, we have assembled this film without following a preordained script, “eyes shut tight” as we listened to the material that emerged from our journey, with José Carlos at first and later on, just myself alone.
Amparo Garrido is a Madrid-based visual artist working with Photography and Video: www.amparogarrido.com.
Since 1998, Amparo Garrido has been represented in individual and group shows in both Spain and abroad, where her work has been honored in a number of prestigious competitions. She obtained first place in the 2001 edition of the ABC Photography Prize, and placed second for the 2007 Purificación García Prize, among others. Her work can be found in major collections, including the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.
- 2019 The Silence that Remains. 71’ FIRST FEATURE FILM
- 2009 Concerning hearing. 5’01” VIDEO ART
- 2009 Preparing olives. 3’35” VIDEO ART
- 2008 Fatherlands. 14’40” VIDEO ART
- 2006 Don’t say a word. 2’39” VIDEO ART
Englsh press kit
Documentary / Fiction
Durarion: 71 min.
Original format: HD
Proyection format: DCP 2K 5.1 Color 1:85:1
Production: Amparo Garrido © 2019, Spain
Produced, Directed and Photographed by Amparo Garrido
Edited, Ana Pozo
Editing Advisor, Julia Juaniz
Sound, Manu Prieto
Sound Postproduction, Pecera Estudio
Color Grading, Frodo García-Conde
José Carlos Sires