"An Umbrella For 2"

Shared listening, a place in time

"An Umbrella for 2" is a sound walk written contextually in response to a place and each time renewed in relation to the spaces and populations heard & encountered.

A pair of listeners are invited to discover points of view and points of listening all along their journey through the public space. A sound umbrella equipped with an MP3 player and two headphones is provided at the start of the walk. After being prepared for hearing by our special “listening-chamber” and being given details to make them technically autonomous, listeners are invited to discover this sound-scape promenade.

This soundtrack will also subtly blend with the real ambient sound, native to the place. Indeed the headphones are open and always let the sound of the "living" space flow through. Having the effect that the ‘real sound’ of the place is expressed, unique, and at the heart of the proposition. This blend of sounds will create, in the heart of the public space, acoustic changes of perspective, rubbing realities, musical vanishing points, highlighting the heard reality .

This way of listening superimposed onto the real ambient sound as well as accentuating our listening or “augmenting reality”, also gives us new ways of looking at reality.

In effect, here, listening permits us to re-orientate our vision, offer it new horizons, focus on a detail, or further still access the invisible, or even another place.

Here, the relations established by diverse perceptions and listening create a new relationship with reality. This relationship oscillates between losing our boundaries (disorientation, unbalance, changes of perception) and accessing a new reality (dream state, illusions, mirages, hallucinations), or on the contrary, a concrete situation for the listeners in the heart of reality.

The awareness of this paradoxical situation tends to re-locate the listener to question his place and his relationship to the public space: here and now.

The sound-scape is highlighted by a written text which either highlights and accentuates reality or offers a new perspective.

This writing is delivered by a voice that subtly accompanies the listeners throughout their wanderings. The collection of testimonies of local inhabitants completes the work of “putting in words” the response to the site.

These voices are collected in situ to find a contextual anchor to the inhabited spaces, showing each person unique voice and relationship to the space. Our work is, above all, to propose a framework for the words, then to reconstruct, them using snippets of speech, & importantly, leaving gaps in the text.


The openings made by these silences, are true material for composing sound, this invites in reality or/and lets the listeners fill in the sound, according to the chain of events that follows (a bicycle bell, a child laughing, a duck quacks...) at their own discretion and interpretation.

Our challenge is to enable the meeting of an artistic proposal with the more contingent elements of the “in situ” reality. The texts and the testimonies will be written and composed for this purpose, leaving open the interpretations, while at the same time, suggesting points of view and points of listening, but always keeping a portion of reality present.

Our desire is to bring listeners to the discovery of a “un-heard” version of their environment, to see another side of the public space and landscape, & finally, to re-locate themselves, at the same time as spectators, listeners and citizens in an artistic proposal which, like them, inhabits a specific territory.

A territory that is not represented as a "scene" or the "set" of a show, but a territory that continues to live its own life, whilst opening up to the framework and context of our proposal, that echoes this place specifically.

Our intention can be summed up with the wish to invite the public to share and experiment with this “other listening”: in, for and with the public space.​


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writing commands :


SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL - LIEUX PUBLICS - Centre National de Création.

FESTIVAL DE L’OH ! - Conseil Général du Val de Marne/ Ville de St-Maur-des-Fossés.  

Co-productions :


LIEUX PUBLICS - Centre national de création - Marseille.

EMMETROP - Artcultures et autres - Bourges.

L’ATTELINE - Pôle régional des Arts de la Rue - Villeneuve-Lès-Maguelone. 

writing awards :


SACEM - Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de musique.

DMDTS / SACD - dispositif "Écrire pour la rue ".​

production support  :

  • PRONOMADES - Centre National des Arts de la Rue - Encausse les Thermes.

Residency support:


    L’USINE - Centre National des Arts de la Rue - Tournefeuille.



© 2012-2020 I Espaces Sonores I Stéphane MARIN