In Swann Remained Silent: Forty Silences in Swann’s Way, I draw on the first volume of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past—in the classic translation by C. K. Scott Moncrieff—and extract from it forty distinct moments of silence. Proust’s words, as translated by Moncrieff, are refashioned into stencils, the letters cut from a series of cards that are held up against the backdrop of my own surroundings and photographed. With this simple gesture, fragments of Proust’s text are severed from their original context, given new resonance, and transformed into new lacunae. The specific, nuanced silences described by Proust are layered with others—the silence of a photograph or a memory, and the stillness that accompanies reading, contemplation, and reverie. My hope is that, in this act of imaginative auditory superimposition, these mute images of empty words might nonetheless convey a faint, elusive music.


-Joseph Clayton Mills




This limited-edition release comprises forty photographs, which are printed on 5 x 7 matte photographic paper and presented in a cardboard box. The photographs are accompanied by a brief essay by sound artist Lou Mallozzi, along with additional information on the release.


This is Suppedaneum no. 23.







Proust’s silences are all after and never before. Unfolding from the labyrinths of the author’s uncompromisingly luxurious sentences, they are melancholy silences that withhold any promise of renewal or resurgence. Joseph Clayton Mills’s silences, though born of Proust, born of melancholy, born of after, are inverted silences. They open back out into the world of potentialities – they hold us at the moment of just about to.


–Lou Mallozzi








Joseph Clayton Mills Is an artist, composer, and performer working at the intersection of language, composition, and archival practice. A former Chicagoan, he remains an active participant in the improvised and experimental music community there, where his collaborators have included Adam Sonderberg and Steven Hess (as Haptic), Michael Vallera (as Maar), Noé Cuéllar (as Partial), Jason Stein, Michael Pisaro, and Olivia Block, among many others. His recordings have appeared on numerous labels, including Another Timbre, FSS, and Entr’acte. In 2013, in collaboration with Noé Cuéllar, he launched the label Suppedaneum to focus on releasing scores and their realizations. He has received commissions and grants from the Chicago Film Archive, Black Cinema House (Rebuild Foundation), the Illinois Arts Council, the Experimental Sound Studio, and, in 2016, was artist in residence at the Sonic Arts Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University, UK.