Silently High – The Original Silent Disco

Devoloped in Berlin based on an idea by Darragh McLoughlin of Squarehead Productions in 2014, the first event was a friends only affair, where song submissions were anonymous and half the fun was trying to guess who picked which track. It has developed into it’s current iteration under the experimental guidance of Cameron Murphy, Oliver Pinchbeck and Declan Mee over many cups of late night tea.

To find out what Silently High is, read our introduction:

What is Silently High?

It has since grown and developed a depth and scope which continues to astound me with it’s real world applications as a source of entertainment and new artistic medium.

Breaking the stage

Silently high aims to kill the boundary between stage and audience that dominates traditional entertainment formats. Technology has finally enabled us to offer something immersive and visceral, while still remaining a true experience, something real and tangible.

The stage/audience dynamic for us has become stale and we would like to personally see it replaced.

It pervades every artistic medium of our society. Consider the computer, it acts as the stage and you are the audience. An advert is a stage of sorts vying for the ticket price of your attention. A virtual reality experience is a stage you can walk on, but again, you are the spectator in a passive world.

From ancient Greek tragedies to early medieval Noh and Kyogen theatre in Japan, this format of stage and audience has been played and experimented upon with varying degrees of success.

Experimentation is key in developing something new. This art form has been the lab rat for too long. We aim to create a new platform and here is how we intend to kill the stage:

  1. The audience is the focus, not the podium. Deprive the stage of attention and it will shrivel and die.
  2. The audience must make decisions for themselves. Take away the stages power and it has no influence.
  3. Performers are part of the audience. Remove reverence and replace with revelry.
  4. Listen to what you want, not what it wants you to hear. We are able to speak for ourselves.
  5. Every day locations are the theatres and dance floors we all perform upon each day. A static screen, stage or box is an alien device used to draw your scrutiny. We aim to broaden your attention, not narrow it.

We have some great ideas, which we want to save as surprises for those who chose to work with us.

How is Silently High different from a Normal Silent Disco?

One of the core concepts of a Silently High event is the suggestions. A voice in your head gives you a suggestion. It usually starts off benign. As an example:

“Stand next to the person who you think chose the last song”

This can slowly escalate into other directions. What if the voice in the mix tape told you to “Stand in front of someone and make eye contact”.
The voices and suggestions in the mix offer us inspiration for improvisation, they give us an excuse for social contact and a reason to have fun, interact and play. The suggestions remain completely voluntary to follow. We all decide our own level of participation.

Here is where things can really get interesting. What if we all don’t have the same voice in our head?
With the ability to control which versions of the mixtape people get, you can drastically alter peoples experiences and perceptions of the same event.

What if the song you are dancing to is not the same as every one else? what if the suggestion you received makes you stand out as a outsider? What if there is no context to what you are witnessing?

Very quickly, we can go down some tasty and interesting social paths. This is where the social experimentation comes in. How far can we push people? Where is the line where the participant becomes the performer?

In its rawest form it is a silent disco and at this concepts pinnacle we see it developing into a brand new performance art medium which you can be part of.

Silently High Take 2 from Cam Ó Murchú

About the author: Cam Ó Murchú

A man from West Cork, Whelped in Dublin, Released on Amsterdam, Grounded in Prague, Grown in Berlin and Settled in Helsinki. Cam Ó Murchú writes in the third person to sound important. He fails miserably at this task and instead cycles his bike to circus practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the hopes of becoming a full time circus performer.

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