"Listening reflections"

A soundwalk to listen to the Bièvre river

and those who live  it

The framework :

«Reflets d’Écoutes» is a contextual sound walk commissioned by « Des Ricochets sur les Pavés » (cultural operator in Val de Bièvre) during their   Bièvre*ImaginaireS cultural season. Founded by actors from the Bièvre Valley territory driven by the desire to explore and enhance its landscapes, Bièvre*ImaginaireS offers sensitive and contextual projects. It is about bringing together the artistic teams and the river, nature in the city, the tangible and intangible heritage, and the actors who live and bring the territory to life.


The sound walk gives you a chance to see and hear the environment of the river through the sounds of nature, the noises of the surrounding neighbourhood and the testimonies of people connected to the river: residents, technicians, water stakeholders and other people resources. But also by bringing into play, in perspective and in contrast, the mineral and vertical urbanization of the building bars of the Emile Zola district.


Structuring element of the Villaine district, the renatured Bièvre in Massy flows near several heterogeneous centres of interest: large housing estates, a music kiosk, new residences in place of the old gendarmerie and individual houses located at proximity. So many points of view (and listenings points ...) from which it will be proposed to listen - sensibly - to the Bievre.


The creation of a "revisited" map of the district also helps guide the public on its journey and symbolizes, through drawing, the main thrusts of the sound proposal. This card is given to each participant and makes it possible to keep a material and poetic record of the sound tour.

The dispositive:  territorial residence (feedbacks)

Since March 2017, before the restitution of the official day of reopening of the section of Bièvre in the open air (May 2018), the two artists have shared residency times as well as practical workshops with the structures present in the districts. Indeed, after several in situ scouting (from winter 2016), meetings, recording sessions (field recording and testimonies), workshops and listening sessions were organized over a period of a little more one year, in connection with the inhabitants and associations of the district of Villaine in Massy.


On this occasion, we were able to meet both environmental professionals, river management, landscapers, historians, as well as users of all types: residents of the neighbourhood or not, of all ages and representing different cultural social groups. For my part, I had the opportunity to record them during private interviews indoors or through micro sidewalks on site.


Most of the time I stayed in an apartment in the seniors' residence "Les Pervenches" where I also ate all my lunch. This situation gave me a double anchor in the territory:


-a base of work and "withdrawal" in the heart of the neighbourhood (which is very convenient when you make sound recordings at night or at dawn ...) making immersion much more efficient than going back to a relocated hotel room,




-a place of meeting and sharing where I could also benefit from precious testimonies about the past and the future of the district and the Bièvre, as well as a first audience for the model of the sound proposals of the soundwalk that I broadcast a preview for them.


I was also able to lead on this occasion the listening workshop "The Tender Ear" which was shared with children (from 3 to 8 years old) from social centres and associations in the neighbourhood (Bièvre-Poterne social centre, centre Thomas Mazarik, APMV and AFAAM) on extra-curricular times. It should be noted that I took advantage of these workshops to make some in situ recordings with the participants which I used later in the creation.

Finally, a presentation of the project linked to two listening sessions (one commented in the auditorium, and another in the form of self-service sound naps in the corridors of the media library) took place during the Days of Patrimony at Médiathèque Hélène Oudou, long-term partner of the project.


It is notable to underline that the public was strongly made up of people who had either been interviewed, or who had participated in the various workshops. This demonstrates the relevance of such territorial projects where this very special relationship forged with everyone during the meeting times is then the engine of "loyalty" of the audience who has become a spect_actor of the project.


Final restitution:

"Refletsd'écouteS" was created on 19/05/18, the day of the reopening of the section of Bièvre, and the official ceremony linked to it. In addition to these guided soundwalks (45 minutes in small groups of 15 people), we also offered a 15 minute sound nap to listen to comfortably on deckchairs.


Sustainability :

The route continues to be tested in situ since May 2018.

In fact, 5 listening devices (headsets and audio players) and cards are made available to the public free of charge at the Hélène Oudoux Media Library in Massy.


Finally, the soundwalk  can be downloaded via the "Echoes xyz" application on a smartphone and allows everyone to listen to solitary sound loops geolocated in situ during the walk.



©rédits photos : Marie-Fanny Fornasari / Stéphane Marin

© 2012-2020 I Espaces Sonores I Stéphane MARIN