The Whispers, 2008
Christian Boltanski’s The Whispers, commissioned for Folkestone Triennial 2008, is a sound installation sited at four benches on The Leas. The sound is triggered when visitors sit down. The voices you hear are reading letters to and from servicemen of the First World War. Since Folkestone was the main point of embarkation for soldiers on their way to the battle-fields in France and Belgium, the town became a poignant site for these soldiers in these personal and intimate reflections on love and separation during war. The letters were offered to the artist and Folkestone Triennial by residents in the town, who were also the readers and audience in the local studio where the recordings were made.
Christian Boltanski works with the ephemera of the human experience, dealing with questions of death, memory, and loss. Known for a body of work that may be considered an archive of our social, cultural, ethnic, and personal histories, Boltanski is one of France’s most widely exhibited living artists.