Australian Sound Design Project
Three Minutes World Silence
|Ongoing Event, Concept, Radio Work and Play|
|Concept by Mary Cassini|
Late in 1983, when the world was terrified by threats of nuclear war between the USA and the USSR, a Silent Vigil for Peace was called in Victoria Square, Adelaide, South Australia. Not knowing what to do about the impending world situation, Mary Cassini went to the Peace Vigil with her husband, Peter. A silent group stood in a circle on the grass. Nearby a fountain splashed. Time passed. Seagulls landed, people stared at them from cars and buses. The traffic lights endlessly changed - red, orange, green and back again as traffic ebbed and flowed around the Square. Still the group stood in silence.|
As the General Post Office clock nearby chimed and then struck the eleventh hour, all the strangers, including Mary, held hands.
May felt a powerful surge of positive energy through the linked hands. She experienced a strong feeling of optimism and hope. After some time of shared silence, the group finally dispersed.
Mary went home and over the next three days conceived the idea of a united silence for the world which she called ‘3 MINUTES WORLD SILENCE’.
Gradually people learned of this event, held every January 1st at 11.00 o’clock in the morning; three minutes of positive thinking for every one of us to remember the future and to wish for peace.
Through letter writing, the media, the internet, exhibitions and tapestries, Mary has spread an aura of peace around the world.
In 1986, Mary and Peter went round the world to spread word of the World Silence. In the Soviet Union the idea was accepted officially, resulting in people throughout the USSR being advised of the World Silence for 1990.
Ros Bandt brought the World Silence to another level of global consciousness in 1992 with her soundscape ‘Footsteps’. These sounds of the world, including the bells of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre In Jerusalem and a baby’s heartbeat, reach many people each January 1st via radio. The sound of a ticking clock illustrates the time of silence.
Silence is the Sound of the Universe
The sound of silence has many meanings. There is the silence when the wind sighs through the trees, rustling the leaves, then suddenly ceases.
The silence after an orchestra reaches a powerful climax of sound, then ends. The fearful silence as an air-raid siren completes its shrill warning. The hushed sound of a silent library, and of a church filled with silent prayer. Mary Cassini believes the World Silence, pausing in every time zone each January lst, beginning at the International Date Line, unites all races, ideologies and beliefs. It gives us all a chance to pause and reflect on our global responsibility to each other and to our earth.
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Published by The University of Melbourne
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Updated: 18 January 2007