Director Patrick Shen is announcing his new documentary film, which he also produced with Nancy Luyen, titled In Pursuit Of Silence. Shen describes In Pursuit Of Silence as “a meditative feature-length documentary exploring the value of silence, our relationship with sound, and the implications of living in a noisy world.”
Shen describes his film: “Though often unnoticed, noise plays a huge part in our daily lives. Each individual sound combines into a collage of noise, which infiltrates nearly every aspect of the human psyche. Whether a leaf blower, city traffic, or the sound of a passing jetliner, noise deprives humans of the natural silence that is often taken for granted, yet is so important in our lives. The impacts of noise are more than the obvious hearing loss. Studies have linked excessive noise with hypertension, heart disease, and even autism.
“In Pursuit of Silence is a comprehensive and immersive meditation on humanity’s relationship with silence and sound. From the monastic traditions of the world’s religions to the universal practice of the ‘moment of silence’ as an act of mourning, humanity has had a long fascination with silence. Today when one in three Americans suffers from some degree of hearing impairment, this relationship with silence, which once served as the key to our evolutionary sustainability, is challenged more than ever as the world continues to grow noisier.
“[I have] long had a fascination with silence and how it can help us cultivate our lives. An important inspiration for In Pursuit of Silence is composer John Cage and his completely silent piece ‘4’33.’
“We may only hear silence, but the implications are more significant. Silence gives us the opportunity to engage with the world around us. [I am] especially intrigued by the idea that noise necessarily requires that we are reactive, whereas silence allows one to reflect. Noise affects our ability to be creative, solve problems, and deal with emotional problems and stress. It clouds our whole existence to the point where we are constantly reacting to some stimuli, leaving no room for us to simply be ourselves and experience the world around us.
“In Pursuit of Silence will feature the powerful stories and expert interviews that we’ve come to know and love documentaries for, but it promises to be more than a typical documentary. Borrowing from photographers like Ansel Adams and Hiroshi Sugimoto and experimental filmmakers like Nathaniel Dorsky, In Pursuit of Silence promises to be just as much of something rather than about something. It’s important to me that viewers leave the theater having truly experienced silence rather than just heard about it for 80 minutes.”
Shen has launched a Kickstarter campaign, which ends on March 8, to raise pre-production costs for the film project.
More information can be found at kickstarter.pursuitofsilence.com.