Silent Whale Letters by Ella Finer & Vibeke Mascini

a graphic with text reading "all the birds sing bass"
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To mark the publication of their book Silent Whale Letters, a long distance correspondence project responding to a silent archival document, Ella Finer and Vibeke Mascini fill Nottingham Contemporary’s Space with the vibrational infra voice of the blue whale that is central to their book. In a new installation conceived for this occasion, Silent Whale responds to its audience and the populated air of the space in which it sounds.

An experiment in listening to frequencies beyond human sensorial range the book Silent Whale Letters is a correspondence intimately attuned to the infravoice of a blue whale: a document held silent in the sound archive, and other so-called ‘silent’ subjects. Published by Sternberg, with TBA-21 Academy and Sylvia, and edited by Kate Briggs, the book moves through three years of call and response, described as “a joint meditation on the transformative potential of a note, a voice, carried from saltwater into the archive” - Rebecca Giggs

The installation will be open from 3pm and followed by a talk by Ella Finer, Vibeke Mascini and Emma McCormick Goodhart from 6pm - 7.30pm.

About the event

Free. Limited Capacity.

Booking is required.

The duration of the talk is one and a half hours. Seating is available.


Find information about getting here and our building access and facilities here.

Speakers will use microphones.

This event is wheelchair accessible.

There are no audio descriptions for this event.

If you have any questions around access or have specific access requirements we can accommodate, please get in touch with us by emailing or phoning 0115 948 9750.

Safety during your visit

Please do not attend this event if you/someone in your household is currently COVID-19 positive, has suspected symptoms or is awaiting test results.

Staff and visitors are welcome to wear a face mask in all areas.

Ella Finer’s work in sound and performance spans writing, composing, and curating with a particular interest in how women’s voices take up space; how bodies acoustically disrupt, challenge, or change occupations of space. Her research continuously queries the ownership of cultural expression through sound; often through collaborative projects centring listening as a practice of deep attention, affiliation and reciprocity. She is currently finishing her first monograph Acoustic Commons and the Wild Life of Sound, a work considering the inherent power in/of that which falls outside of administrative control – as a way of thinking through the sonic as critical agitator: how sound resists categorisation in the archive; how sound makes and disperses knowledge beyond the bounds of the institutional building.

Vibeke Mascini explores, through sculptures, installations, video and text, a scaling of abstract phenomena into a sensorial scope, with the intention to seek agency from intimacy. In long-term collaboration with scientists, engineers, government employees and musicians she proposes a conscious understanding of electric energy as a statement of interconnect- edness and entanglement – between species, media and nature, matter and energy. Her earlier publications include The Dent of Walter Umenhofer and Cloud Inverse, both independently published. Vibeke is currently an artist-in-resident at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam 2021–2023.

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