In an alphabetic writing system, a silent letter is a letter in a word that does not correspond to any sound in the pronunciation of the word. Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of Camellia Sinensis. Phonetic transcriptions that depict pronunciation and note changes due to grammar and the proximity of other words require a symbol to show that the letter is mute. After water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world. Handwritten notes use a circle with a line through it and the sound is called ‘zero’. Tea originated in southwestern China, where it was used as a medical drink. Written by hand it resembles the symbol for the empty set, but it must not be confused with the Danish and Norwegian letter Ø. There are many different types of tea.
In the exhibition The Silent Character Janne Kruse presents a new film and two new collages. The filmic and the photographic material come from a journey she made to China in November 2017. In the film we see production of tea at a tea factory in the city of Ya’an in Sichuan Province and the preparation of tea in a teahouse in Ya’an and in Beijing in combination with textual fragments. As a starting point for the whole project, Kruse is interested in among other things the linguistic concept of silent letters, phonetic transcription and how knowledge about tea is transferred as a type of silent knowledge based on sensory experience. The pronunciation of words and the consumption of tea both flow through the body.