Web-based video, black and white, and sound (stereo)
Duration: 13min, 52sec
Presented by the artists 2018


THE ART OF SILENCE 2006 is an online artwork, a web-based animation in black and white with sound that lasts just under fourteen minutes. The animation consists of capitalised black text on a white background set to the rhythm of jazz music, a soundtrack which was composed by the artists using software programmes such as GarageBand and Logic Pro. The animation intentionally cannot be paused or toggled through, thereby denying the viewer control and distinguishing the work from many other contemporaneous works of net art which are typically characterised by interactivity and dependence upon viewers’ active participation. The work is a companion piece to another web-based animation, THE ART OF SLEEP 2006 (Tate T15753) which was originally commissioned to coincide with the frieze art fair in London in 2006 for presentation on Tate’s Intermedia Art micro site – an extension of the main Tate website which was actively updated between 2008 and 2010 and contains an archive of net art projects from 2000 onwards. The project was dedicated to art that not only ‘engages the use of new media, sound and performance’ but addresses ‘art that comments on the social and political implications of new technology and practices that challenge traditional ideas of the art object; including work that is process-driven, participatory or interactive’ (Tate Intermedia Art, ‘About’,, accessed March 2018).

The text in THE ART OF SILENCE takes the form of an interview between the artists and Jemima Rellie, Tate’s former Head of Digital Programmes, who worked with the artists on the commission. As with their other work, the artists have employed the font Monaco which is a monospaced, san-serif typeface created by the graphic designers Susan Kare and Kris Holmes; it appeared early on in Apple Mac computer operating systems. The letter ‘o’ is replaced with a numerical ‘0’ (distinguished by the diagonal bar through it) at every instance within the animation, thus creating an association with computing binary code. Furthermore, the words of the participants are given computer-generated voices, which the artists rendered with AT&T’s free text-to-speech software, which is distinctive in giving Rellie a conspicuously British accent in a way that would not have been possible in a purely visual representation. The content of the interview follows a typically meandering and poetic approach, as seen also in THE ART OF SLEEP, however it may be distinguished by its ironic questioning of the efficacy of collaborative artistic practices.

YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES is a Seoul-based artistic collective formed in 1999 and consisting of the Korean artist Young-Hae Chang and the American artist Marc Voge. They are known for their distinctive web-based artworks that deploy a signature style of monochromatic text synchronised to appear in time to self-scored, jazzy soundtracks (see also YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES PRESENTS: DOWN IN FUKUOKA WITH THE BELARUSIAN BLUES 2010 [Tate T13637]).

Further reading
Thom Swiss, ‘Distance, Homelessness, Anonymity and Insignificance: An Interview with YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES’, The Iowa Review Web, 15 December 2002,, accessed 1 March 2018.
Mark Tribe, ‘An Ornithology of Net Art’, Intermedia Art, 2006,, accessed 1 March 2018.
Ahyoung Yoo, ‘The Problems of Digital Utopia: YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES on the Web’, 1 April 2015,, accessed 1 March 2018.

Katy Wan and Patricia Falcao
March 2018

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