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The Rhythm of Violence
A soundscape to comprehend the scale of violence
On 17th October, 2004, a man died in Sweden. A woman also died that day.
His death made headlines across the country, whilst she was barely mentioned in the media. He was killed by a bear while out hunting, an unprecedented event that had not happened in the country since 1902. She was killed by her ex-partner. In Sweden, a woman dies at the hands of her partner every 30 days.
Whilst both deaths present an equal loss, it is clear that those concerned with saving lives need to be better informed on domestic violence than bear attacks.
The data speaks for itself.
We set out to create an impactful installation that would make tangible this invisible, systemic violence against women around the world.
Through the use of metronomes, sound and rhythm create a universal language to transmit the consistent and global nature of this threat, in spite of the dangers the media may focus on.
One by one
In the darkened room where you find “The Rhythm of Violence” every minute is a year, and every tick of the metronome is the death of a woman at the hands of her parter or ex-partner.
Each metronome represents a different country, and reminds us of the constant and prolific nature of this violence.
Following a short video introduction, each metronome begins to tick to its own rhythm, one by one, building an increasingly urgent and uncomfortable noise. Visitors move through the space, as each podium is spotlit they are invited to read the official numbers that the tempo represents.
As the piece comes to a conclusion and the cacophony of metronomes falls silent we are left to consider a final empty podium that represents all those victims who do not appear in official statistics.
Marquis de Sade
The piece came to life in May 2023 as part of Sade at the CCCB: an exhibition exploring the legacy of Marquis de Sade’s writings on contemporary society. Always a controversial figure seen by some as a revolutionary proponent of personal freedom, to others he was an evil corruptor.
What cannot be denied is the enduring public fascination for the controversial life he led, and the extensive impact of his philosophical writings that throw up questions about an innate fascination for the suffering of others.
Between May and October 48,278 walked through the exhibition; a testament to the contemporary relevance of this topic.
Sade by nature
It seems humans have a sadistic thirst for the sensational and grotesque. A morbid curiosity that reveals itself in countless true crime documentaries, horror movies and clicks on gory news stories.
In consuming sensationalistic media we blind audiences to structural violence, and create an inaccurate perception of the threats we live with.
It’s up to us to think about how the information we consume and share is shaping our reality.
How How How?