David Knight - 17th Mar 2010

On the second floor of Cambridge University's Department of Engineering, behind a vast array of home made speakers and Seventies-era hi-fi equipment, sits a rarely-used container-sized room called the Anechoic Chamber - a room designed to create total silence.

On visiting an Anechoic Chamber, John Cage entered expecting to hear silence, but he wrote later: "I heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation." True silence is impossible.

Ruhal Ahmed, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, has a special relationship to silence. For a period of two and a half years, he was repeatedly questioned by military staff at the Cuban base, where his interrogators would often play music to him repeatedly at high volume. This short film by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin - one of a number made to accompany the new Massive Attack album Heligoland, and featuring the track Saturday Comes Slow - is a meditation on Ruhal Ahmed's experience in Guantanemo.

It is also about the use of sound on the human body, for both pleasure and pain - as sound expert Michael Furman also explains in this absorbing film, at different points illuminating, beautiful and disturbing.

Watch 'Massive Attack’s Saturday Comes Slow by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin ' here

PRO Credits


DirectorAdam Broomberg
Production CompanyBlack Dog Films
ProducerSvana Gisla
Director of PhotographyDan Holland
EditorJulian Eguiguren
OnlineEmily Irvine
SoundRobin Gerrard
Special ThanksThe University of Cambridge and the Department of Engineering.
DirectorOliver Chanarin

David Knight - 17th Mar 2010

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