Social Dive (International)

Tacet: Extrinsic

Hildur Elísa Jónsdóttir

*This project has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 infection that prevented the artist from coming to Japan.

<Tokyo Biennale 2020 SOCIAL DIVE Artist-in-Residence Projects>

Music consists of two equally important characteristics: sound and silence. Sound is characterized by its loudness, pitch, timbre, and duration, while silence is only characterized by the time that goes by during its existence. Silence cannot be heard in terms of harmony or pitch; it can only be sensed as time passing. Viewers at a classical symphony concert hear sounds and see the performers who form the sounds, but only sense the silence because they see the performance of it through the quiet performers. As viewers, we pay the silent performers little or no attention, but in music, silence is just as important as sound – if not more so.

A silent performer sits on stage among the musicians during a concert. There is no visible difference between the silent performer and members of the orchestra – with the exception that she performs silence and never emits a sound. By performing silence which is not integral to the composition while sitting within an orchestra – whose performers perform both sound and silence – the artist tries to get the viewer to reflect on the importance of sound and silence in music, and their role as two integral sides of a whole which only exist in relation to each other.

(As of February 2021)

1: “Tacet: Extrinsic” performed with Sinfonia Nord, 2019, Langholtskirkja (Reykjavík, Iceland), courtesy of the artist
2: “Tacet: Extrinsic” performed with Sinfonia Nord, the silent performer sits between the viola section and the choir, 2019, Hof (Akureyri, Iceland), Photo by Auðunn Ljósmyndari
3: “Tacet: Extrinsic” performed with Sinfonia Nord, 2019, Langholtskirkja (Reykjavík, Iceland), courtesy of the artist


Hildur Elísa Jónsdóttir (Artist)

Hildur Elísa Jónsdóttir (b. 1993 in Reykjavík, Iceland) graduated from the Iceland University of the Arts’ fine art department in 2019. During her studies, she went on exchange to the Kunst und Vermittlung department at Hochschule Luzern, where her work “Konzert für Spielzeug und Schwimmbad” was chosen by curator Michael Sutter to be exhibited at the school’s best-of exhibition, K+. Hildur Elísa holds a diploma in classical clarinet from the Reykjavík College of Music and has performed widely with the Hamrahlid choir. In her works, she uses institutional critique within performance, moving image, installation and music, to interrupt and criticise normative narrative and show her subjects from a new angle.

Photo by Kata Jóhanness