Created as part of Zfin Malta artistic director Mavin Khoo’s farewell festival, Stillness Speaks was an interactive installation created by Niels Plotard. Built in one of the rooms at Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta, Malta, Stillness Speaks invited audiences to embrace stillness and what that may potentially bring to their lives.

The title was taken from Eckhart Tolle’s book Stillness Speaks, a book that very much influenced Niels at that point in his life. He was on an intense journey of artistic self-discovery, being very much preoccupied with the fact that he knew a little about many things and not a lot about one thing. He found stillness within the fast-paced rhythm of life to be a useful tool for him, and something he wished to share with as many people as possible. He wanted to create a space to let go, to read, to immerse yourself in stillness.

The video clip of Jim Carrey’s speech at a graduation ceremony was and still is another great source of inspiration and encouragement for Niels. It is THE video he watches when he needs a boost. The beautiful idea of everything being a choice based on Love or Fear was the most striking part of this video for Niels and the for whole team. It has become somewhat of a mantra that we carry with us and that we turn to in moments of doubt.

Every section of the installation offered the public a choice. A choice to interact or not to interact with the installation. We posed a question to the audience at every station, informing them that if they do interact with the element, the environment will be somehow changed by that interaction. We then left it up to them to choose to affect the environment or not.

We had a station with a cassette player, and a cloud structure that was ‘raining’ cassettes, that the audience could take down and play in the cassette player, without really knowing what was on them.

A writing desk full of empty post-its next to a 3-D tree structure, invited people to leave us a message if they chose to.

An installation of photos that was obstructed by a woven layer of old cassette tape string, allowed the audience to choose different perspectives from which to view the photos, and also the possibility of shifting the woven string to create a different form.

Niels Plotard: Concept, Installation Design

Virginie Boucaut: Creative Assistance, Installation

Florinda Camilleri: Writing, Creative Assistance, Installation

Emma Walker: Visual Art, Creative Assistance, Installation

David Walters: Sound clips for Auditory installation


Thanks to

Keith Micallef

Joao Castro

Martina Zammit

Herman Grech

Christopher Tandy

Sandra Mifsud

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