Performance art at the Natatorium: “Speaking in Silence” this Saturday

The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium is one of 10 culturally important Honolulu locations chosen as venues for “Speaking in Silence,” a work of performance art highlighting Hawaiian history and the diversity here of concepts of enlightenment and consciousness.

The work – conceived by artist Ernesto Pujol – takes place this Saturday, June 18; the portion at the Natatorium is scheduled to run from sunrise to sunset.

Pujol is a visiting artist at the Contemporary Museum, where a survey of his work called “Walking Ground” is on display until Oct. 2. He refers to himself as a “site-specific public performance artist and social choreographer,” interested, among other things, in the notion of sacred ground and the sacredness of places and spaces.

Performers from "Speaking in Silence"

Saturday’s daylong event will involve performers – alone or in pairs – at the Natatorium and the other venues.

“They will be simply dressed in red and humbly barefoot,” says Contemporary Museum executive director Allison Wong. “Each performer will carry a little red book containing selections from the history, literature (fiction and nonfiction), poetry, popular songs, and native chants of our islands.”

Wong says that the performers “will spend the day walking and sitting, alternating between reading out loud and meditating in silence.”

“The 14 performers will act as gentle public speakers and silent wandering monks,” Wong says. “At the end of their long day, they will disappear quietly with the sunset.”

Visitors and passerby will receive a map that directs them to the other locations where the work is being staged. The performance will be documented with video and still photography so that it can be shared later with those who are unable to witness it in person.

The Friends of the Natatorium thank Pujol and the Contemporary Museum for selecting the Natatorium as one of the venues for this performance. Go witness it; it provides all of us with an opportunity to reflect on the cultural and historical importance of the Natatorium and to meditate on its value – and the value of all the sites – to us as individuals and as a society.

Here is a complete list of the venues for “Speaking in Silence:”

Aloha Tower (sunrise to sunset)

Chinatown Historic District (sunrise to sunset)

Hawai’i State Capitol (sunrise to sunset)

Tamarind Park (sunrise to sunset)

Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium (sunrise to sunset)

Oahu Cemetery (7 a.m.-6 p.m.)

Hawai’i State Library (9 a.m.-5 p.m.)

Iolani Palace (9 a.m.-5 p.m.)

Mission Houses Museum (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Honolulu Academy of Arts (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)

Categories: Events and Uncategorized.