Charles Stankievech: The Eye of Silence


Charles Stankievech: The Eye of Silence

Wednesday, 10 May · 7:00 - 8:30 PM · ONSITE

The Eye of Silence suggests a hallucinatory blurring of cosmic and the chthonic. Evoking critical moments in the Earth’s evolution, the work explores a series of antinomies: passages between creation and destruction, expansion and contraction, intrusion and extrusion, within and without, microcosm and macrocosm.

Wednesday, 10th May 2023
The Screening Room, Block 38 Malan Road, #01-06
7:00pm – 8:30pm

The Eye of Silence is a newly commissioned video marshalling high atmospheric footage of the Albertan Badlands, the Utah Salt Flats, Icelandic and Japanese volcanoes, and a meteorite crater and cave paintings located within a region of the Namibian desert long closed off to visitors because of diamond mining. A field of stars becomes a point map of a lidar scan of a cave. At every polarity, the suggestion of a mystical inversion obtains, wherein a horizon or vanishing point unfolds to offer new vistas. An abyss, such as outer space, or some geological fissure, delivers a new world. Combining static camera, drone footage, and a mirrored screen, a churning mass of clouds, lava, and stone provides receptive viewers with ample grounds to project their own associations. Is that a face in the mist? In such moments, another antinomy is revealed—between subject and object; evidence and speculation. The Eye of Silence both depicts and implies metamorphosis on every level.

Mediating between stellar and subterranean motifs, fog, mist, clouds and smoke venting from a fresh lava flow spill across the screen. At times it softens tough terrain, while elsewhere stimulating a trance-like pareidolia, or roiling within volcanic craters. The visual dynamism of air recapitulates not only the ‘invention of the concept of atmosphere in the history of meteorology,’ but also the formation of the earth’s atmosphere back in deep geologic time—in a word, to creation itself. The Eye of Silence calls forth otherworldly experience from within the depths and heights of this world, at the same time cultivating an aesthetic disposition to receive them.        

-Nadim Samman & Dehlia Hannah, from “Meteor-logos” off the forthcoming book, The Desert Turned to Glass: Charles Stankievech, Hatje Cantz, 2023.

An introduction to the work will be given by the artist himself. The screening will be followed by a conversation between Charles Stankievech and Professor Ute Meta Bauer.

The Eye of Silence is a film by Charles Stankievech
Producer: Ala Roushan
Produced by The VEGA Foundation

Header Image: Charles Stankievech, still from The Eye of Silence Series, 2023. Video, 30:00. Courtesy the Studio Stankievech. Collection of The Vega Foundation.


Charles Stankievech (Canada) is an artist, whose award-winning work has been shown at institutions including the HKW Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; Kunste Werke, Berlin; National Gallery of Canada; TBA21, Vienna; as well as several biennials from Venice to SITE Santa Fe. He has lectured at dOCUMENTA (13) and the 8th Berlin Biennale, and his writing has been published by Verso, MIT, Sternberg Press, e-flux, and Princeton Architectural Press. He is an editor of Afterall Journal (U of Chicago Press), a co-founder of the Yukon School of Visual Art, and was Director of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto from 2015-2021, where he is currently Associate Professor. For 2022-23, Stankievech is a visiting researcher in the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo.

Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore) is an educator and curator in the field of contemporary art. Since 2013, she has been the Founding Director of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and a Professor in the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, where she co-chairs the Master in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices. Bauer was the Artistic Director of the 3rd berlin biennale for contemporary art (2003-2004), Co-Curator of Documenta11 on the team of Okwui Enwezor (2000-2002), and  co-curated with MIT List Centre Visual Art Director Paul C. Ha the US Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), featuring video and performance pioneer Joan Jonas. Her recent curatorial and editorial projects for NTU CCA Singapore include The Oceanic (2017/18), Tarek Atoui, The Ground: From the Land to the Sea (2018), Trees of Life: Knowledge in Material (2018), Jef Geys – Quadra Medicinale Singapore (2018/19), Siah Armajani: Spaces for the Public. Spaces for Democracy (2019), The Posthuman City: Climates. Habitats. Environments. (2019/20), Non-Aligned (2020) and Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. (2020/21); Climates.Habitats.Environments. co-published with The MIT Press (2022), as well as the two-part reprint of the legendary  i Press series edited by architects Mary Otis Stevens and Thomas McNulty (both MIT), The Ideal Communist City (1968, 2022) and World of Variation (1970, 2022). Bauer is currently curator of the Singapore Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022) featuring artist Shubigi Rao, and co-curator of the 17th Istanbul Biennial (2022) with filmmaker Amar Kanwar and art historian David Teh.