The Inhibition of action – Silent Cacophony


Poster Silent Cacophony


The piece has been performed 5 times over the 10th and 11th November 2013 as part of Silent Cacophony, “a series of live performance events across London and beyond exploring silence during war and conflict.”

Organisation : Platform 7 – John McKiernan & Made In Greenwich Gallery – Irena and Edward Hill

C.Desmarest 1

About the piece :

“If one can neither get away nor fight, then action becomes inhibited.When action has no way out, immobility turns into mutism. Inhibition becomes the only solution and leaves traumas in the body.
This dance piece looks into the shades of silence. Silence is what happens when words are not possible, when action is killed by impotency.
Non-expression does not only mean resignation and acceptance.
On the occasion of Remembrance Day The inhibition of action deals with powerlessness and arbitrariness.” C.Desmarest

C.Desmarest 2



Text published on 10th November 2013 in the blog section of the Silent Cacophony website :
“A post by Camille Desmarest for her performance in Greenwich train station as part of Silent Cacophony 2013.
With sound by Garry Scott James and event facilitated by Made in Greenwich Gallery, with huge support from the Greenwich Dance Agency (GDA) and station manager Sonia Maulson and her team at Southeastern Railways.”

“It is unbelievable what can happen when you simply genuinely ask for it.
I am amazed by people’s generosity, availability and enthusiasm.
I am incredibly impressed by the whole network of connections and interactions between people, despite physical distance.
I have been making this piece in Paris, after living here for three years. I feel like I have not left.
Thank you John for putting all the Silent Cacophony events together.
Thank you Irena for asking me to be a part of it.
Thank you Sonia for allowing this to happen in the Greenwich station and all the staff for being incredibly cooperative with the logistic.
Thank you GDA for hosting me so kindly over two days. It would be very hard without your contribution.
I do not do “thank yous” because it would be nice, or because it is expected and conventional. I very sincerely felt I needed to tell them.
I have always loved stations.
I have spent lots of time in them, doing essays while skipping classes when I was at high school.
Stations are a moving place by nature.
Transitions where we only pass by. Who would go to a station if not to catch a train or pick up a friend ?
Because I have often been around and about in cities, I have weirdly spent almost more time in tubes and trains than in the places I was going to.
Somehow, stations and trains became somewhere, became a location in my everyday life. They have turned into bed, desk, office, kitchen table, and now stage. It feels right, and home.
Trains and stations take the function one gives it. There are scary functions.
I am very pleased to make the station a performing place. I like that anyone can watch or go, stay or pass by, make the effort to come to a station, or completely randomly arrive on a performance time.
Every time will be different. I will be there. I am ready. Let’s go on board.”



Camille Desmarest & Irena Hill


Text published on 10th December 2013 in the blog section of the Silent Cacophony website :


“One month has now passed since I have been postponing writing some lines about the performances I did for Silent Cacophony. I think it is enough waiting. I am still not sure what I have been waiting for, which sort of revelation I thought would happen to me?
Practising writing anyway, I did write some notes straight after the performances, trying to capture some snapshots of what just happened. I was trying to put down the specificity of the dancing  that had just happened, and how very different it was from the previous one. Each of them had its own characteristics, like family members, all different, but with a resemblance.

Non chronological random extracts:

  • “Felt stuck. Looking for my movements. I didn’t know how to move anymore. Cramps at the worse moment.”
  • “The very first performance felt like someone is offering you a meal, but taking the cutlery away. I had a dance to do, but no body to make it come to life. I felt surprised that I wasn’t  able to do what I was meant or planned to.”
  • “High concentration makes me stable.”
  • “I felt like a tracked animal.”
  • “Dazzling sun. Full and empty space”.
  • “Everytime has been 30 mins to go. 10 mins to go. 5 mins to go. 1 min to go. And go. This very micro second before going “on stage”.”
  • “So it happened. Light Sunday, very peaceful and bright. No time. Monday: loaded and heavy. The air was charged and dense. Yellowish atmosphere by the end of the day. Humid and cold and rain.”
  • “More struggle. I accepted. It was what it was. This piece imposes itself on me more than I try to fight against it or to make something else out of it.”
  • “Each piece felt like a long walk where there is no option but to just put one foot in front of the other. Stop-less. And again. And again. It was like a long story you’re telling once more. And once more. And another time. It was like diving in a pool for a swim. You are doing the same movements all the time but things evolve over time and you get out of the water in a different place you got in. And you go back in again.”

Although I am used to doing something over and over, I am amazed by how different it still is everytime, and how much it can vary from one time to another.
If I concentrate, I can remember each performance precisely, its atmosphere and how it felt in the moment. But thinking generally about The inhibition of action, all the performances together have merged into one long dance, with different parts and intermissions.

Silent Cacophony has become quite a big folder: several people, sketchbooks, photographs, drafts soundtracks, texts, videos…some lively material I am still dealing with. I like multi-aspects events, generating different outcomes. Silent Cacophony is still not entirely finished for me.”


C.Desmarest by John Watts


Click here to watch the video under the “Performances” section on the video page

The video has been displayed in the Made In Greenwich gallery (324 Creek Road SE10 9SW London) in Octobre 2014.


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