When There is Nothing More to Say. – Silence – The Dissolution of Meaning

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA 2023
contact email: 

“Silence is constituted by the absence of words but is therefore and simultaneously the presence of their absence” (The language of Silence. Schlant, Ernestine).  

There will always come that specific moment, – and then there is silence. Many great thinkers and artists reached a point, after their most productive phase where they had become silent, and silence exists as a decision and punishment.

Wittgenstein concluded, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

Susan Sontag´s essay the Aesthetics of Silence and Georg Steiner’s Language and Silence provide the pillar for this seminar. These writings explore several characterizations, exemplifications of silence, and their aesthetical value as well as their effects on art and society.

On the other hand, there is no silence in a world full of noise and deterioration. Nevertheless, silence seems to be a common ground whether in social interactions or used as a political tool to manifest power.   

What is it when everything is said and the action points in the opposite direction of what is said? Meaning dissolves and the moment when social relations, i.e. people fall apart.

There are manifold ways to overcome speechlessness, but what is the underlying condition in the first place? An attempt at classification shows that speechlessness is often the victim's condition and the unspeakable of the witness. The perpetrator's silence is a refusal to become aware and the guilt is repressed.

As a starting point, this seminar will focus on the threshold and framework of silence.

We are inviting papers regarding all kinds of silence such as speechlessness, the unsayable, unspeakable, melancholy, trauma language, depression, power matrix, and other approaches that will measure the parameters of silence.

We will find answers to the leading question – what if there is nothing more to say?