Janet Cardiff: The Missing Voice (Case Study B)
From 19 June 1999
An audio walk, beginning in Whitechapel
The Missing Voice (Case Study B) is still available to download and experience as audio mp3. There are three parts, downloadable from this page.
Alternatively, the project is generally available upon asking at The Whitechapel Gallery.
Through 1999 Janet Cardiff realised what was her most ambitious work to date, The Missing Voice (Case Study B), in London's East End.
Part urban guide, part detective fiction, part film noir, Cardiff’s British debut entwines you in a narrative that shifts through time and space. Seductive, intimate, even conspiratorial, Cardiff’s audio-walks are psychologically absorbing experiences - for an audience of one at a time.
Starting at Whitechapel Library, visitors were given a Discman. You would leave the building and find yourself transported in time. What was that sound? Who is speaking to you? Where does reality end, and what’s imagined begin…?
The Missing Voice (Case Study B), which we are now pleased to offer as a download from this website, lasts some 50 minutes, tracing a route through Spitalfields and towards the City of London, with the threads of the narrative being brought to some kind of resolution in a space off Commercial Street.
Although The Whitechapel Library closed and the building was absorbed into the neighbouring Whitechapel Gallery, it is surprising how the majority of the walk’s other landmarks – from KFC restaurants to ultra-simple news stands – remain present today, albeit with the occasional change in detail, or paint colour. The effect of this is that The Missing Voice (Case Study B) is accumulating a new kind of intrigue: as we listen to its mysterious, multi-layered tale and compare the narrator’s observations with our own, we observe the drip-drip rate of change on a certain set of London streets...
This project was supported by Arts Council England, Special Angels and The Company of Angels