Stories of Silence and Sound: Bella Bathurst and Erling Kagge

6Oct_Stories of Silence and Sound Bella Bathurst and Erling Kagge

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Two writers explore our complex and emotional relationship with sound, silence and noise

How does it feel to spend 50 days in silence? Do we ever really experience a true absence of sound? What can deafness teach us? Join writer Bella Bathurst and explorer Erling Kagge, in conversation with Marion Coutts, as they discuss our emotional relationship with sound, noise and silence; the need for them and the desire to escape them.

Writer and photojournalist Bella Bathurst’s recent book Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found Sound draws on her own extraordinary experience of gradually losing her hearing and eventually getting it back. She considers what it teaches about listening and silence, music and noise. She investigates the science behind deafness, hearing loss among musicians, soldiers and factory workers, sign language, and what the deaf know about these subjects that the hearing don't.

Erling Kagge is an explorer who was the first in history to reach the 'three poles' - North, South and the summit of Everest. During these expeditions, he experienced extreme periods of silence - once walking 50 days solo in Antarctica with a broken radio – which became the inspiration for his new meditation Silence, In the Age of Noise. He asks what is silence? Do we want it? How do we create it or find it? and discusses the observations of other poets, artists, and explorers.

Bella Bathurst is a fiction and non-fiction writer, and photographer, I’m the author of four books including The Lighthouse Stevensons which won the 1999 Somerset Maugham Award, The Wreckers, which became a BBC Timewatch documentary, and The Bicycle Book, which was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2011. She is a contributing editor at Newsweek and writes regularly for the Guardian Weekend Magazine.

Erling Kagge is a publisher at Oslo-based publishing house Kagge Forlag, an art collector, writer and one of the world's most accomplished living explorers. Apart from his Polar and Himalayan adventures he has sailed across the Atlantic, around Cape Horn and to the Galápagos Islands.

Marion Coutts is an artist who has exhibited widely around the world, and a writer. She works with a range of material forms: found objects, digital video, film, drawing, sound, text and photography. Her first book, The Iceberg, won the Wellcome Book Prize 2015. She is currently a Senior Lecturer on BA Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths.

Part of a Season of Sound, celebrating the Library’s sound archive. Audio installation supplied by Bowers & Wilkins.


Name: Stories of Silence and Sound: Bella Bathurst and Erling Kagge
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £10.00
Member: £7.00
Senior 60+: £8.00
Student: £7.00
Registered Unemployed: £7.00
Under 18: £7.00
Friend of the British Library: £7.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546