The voice of thin silence

2017

This work is based on the lifestory of my great grandfather. He was greek and in 1949 he was repressed and deported to Kazakhstan. My father never saw him but heard a lot about him from my grandmother. My father always wanted to go to Kazakhstan to see the place where he spent his last years and died but haven`t managed to  to make it.

Being interested in greek rebetiko music, I found a kind of parallel between these songs and my family story. Listening to rebetiko songs I was imagining last years of my great grandfather. So I referred to this theme in my work for Pinchuk Art Center Prize.

I invited Berlin based composer Yuri Gurzhy to create a lyrics and music for the song based on rebetiko and dedicated to repressed greeks. Gurzhy has greek roots and this theme is also close to him. In a few weeks after the song was recorded I went to Kazakhstan to small village Chilik. I took with me from Almaty a loudspeaker and installed it near Chilik, the song sounds there. 

In the exposition at Pinchuk art center you can see a picture of this sign. Besides the photo, only the song is playing in the room.

Photo: Максим Білоусов.

PinchukArtCentre
February 24 - May 13, 2018
Kiyv, Ukraine

Nikolay Karabinovych often combines his personal experience with explorations of various musical genres, including folk music, and provokes other artists to create new works.

In his work entitled The Voice of the Thin Silence, Karabinovych addresses the tragic history of repressions, deportations, sadness, mourning, and sacrifices through the lens of his family history. The artist’s great-grandfather, an ethnic Greek, was arrested and deported to Kazakhstan in 1949, where he died 5 years later.

The search for information and his father’s memories about his grandfather reminded Karabinovych of “rebetiko,” a Greek music genre that emerged in Athens in the 1930s and is strongly associated with persons relocated from Asia Minor. In The Voice of the Thine Silence, Karabinovych asked the musician Yuriy Gurzhy to create a rebetiko song, and traveled to the town of Shelek (formerly Chilik) in Kazakhstan to install a symbolic monument to victims of repressions. The monument is a loudspeaker that broadcasts a piercing mourning song over the silent Kazakh steppe.