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Solvej Dufour Andersen

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 4 months ago

Solvej Dufour Andersen

Born 1974 in Farsø, Denmark, living and working in Geneva and Copenhagen


"The Silence of the Sirens

by Franz Kafka


Proof that inadequate, even childish measures, may serve to rescue one from



To protect himself from the Sirens Ulysses stopped his ears with wax and

had himself bound to the mast of his ship. Naturally any and every

traveller before him could have done the same, except those whom the Sirens

allured even from a great distance; but it was known to all the world that

such things were of no help whatever. The song of the Sirens could pierce

through everything, and the longing of those they seduced would have broken

far stronger bonds than chains and masts. But Ulysses did not think of

that, although he had probably heard of it. He trusted absolutely to his

handful of wax and his fathom of chain, and in innocent elation over his

little stratagem sailed out to meet the Sirens.


Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their

silence. And though admittedly such a thing has never happened, still it is

conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing;

but from their silence certainly never. Against the feeling of having

triumphed over them by one's own strength, and the consequent exaltation

that bears down everything before it, no earthly powers could have remained



And when Ulysses approached them the potent songstresses actually did not

sing, whether because they thought that this enemy could be vanquished only

by their silence, or because of the look of bliss on the face of Ulysses,

who was thinking of nothing but his wax and his chains, made them forget

their singing.


But Ulysses, if one may so express it, did not hear their silence; he

thought they were singing and that he alone did not hear them. For a

fleeting moment he saw their throats rising and falling, their breasts

lifting, their eyes filled with tears, their lips half-parted, but believed

that these were accompaniments to the airs which died unheard around him.

Soon, however, all this faded from his sight as he fixed his gaze on the

distance, the Sirens literally vanished before his resolution, and at the

very moment when they were nearest to him he knew of them no longer.


But they--lovelier than ever--stretched their necks and turned, let their

cold hair flutter free in the wind, and forgetting everything clung with

their claws to the rocks. They no longer had any desire to allure; all that

they wanted was to hold as long as they could the radiance that fell from

Ulysses' great eyes.


If the Sirens had posessed consciousness they would have been annihilated

at that moment. But they remained as they had been; all that had happened

was that Ulysses had escaped them.


A codicil to the foregoing has also been handed down. Ulysses, it is said,

was so full of guile, was such a fox, that not even the goddess of fate

could pierce his armor. Perhaps he had really noticed, although here the

human understanding is beyond its depths, that the Sirens were silent, and

opposed the afore-mentioned pretense to them and the gods merely as a sort

of shield."


From http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~n9648471/kafka/ksilence.html




Long Gone, 2004, surround installation, photo: Anders Sune Berg


Die Zärtlichen und die Gleichgültigen, 2005, 2 min, video still, video installation


Dancing Around My Soul, 2006, sound installation, photo: Peter Stoffel


No title, 2006, photo : gianfranco schiavano


Le Canadien, 2007, 13:12 min, video still


Morsmål ved de arktiske strender, 2007, documentary, 29 min, video still


Immigration Registration Office Geneva, 2001, 9 min, video still


Long Gone, 2004 , 3D sound installation, photo: Solvej Dufour Andersen









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