top of page

"Sensible PhoNographic Observatory of the Garonne River soundscapes"

From drifts to banks, an invitation to listen to a tumultuous river ...

...and the borders it crosses

Intentions : 

We propose to draw up a landscape portrait of the Garonne river via the auscultation and the recording of its biophony (sounds of fauna), its geophony (sounds of the 4 elements) and its anthropophony (sounds of humans and their activities).


This territorial project aims to enhance the natural, cultural and industrial heritage of the Garonne by means of a sensitive sharing of its soundscapes (intangible heritage). Via our listening devices, the suggestive and immersive powers of sound will serve to seed collective memory by activating individual memory. Our educational workshops, listening steps and sound naps will be deployed along the banks in an ecological way, in total energy autonomy. Listening together to the Garonne is better to reconnect with our environment but also to deal with ecological, heritage and citizen issues in a sensitive manner.


The project consists (in its variation on the territory of Toulouse Métropole) in a practical way of listening then recording (alone or collectively during the workshops) the sound environments of the Garonne and its tributaries in 3 municipalities of the Metropolis partners of the project (Fenouillet, Saint-Jean and Beauzelle) then share contextual sound creations (3 listening steps and a sound nap) on these same places. A geolocalized sound map will be published at the end of the project and will give an understanding of the geography of the territories surveyed over all four seasons (2019-2020).


This project would like to register as the missing (sound) link between a territory, its living memory and its imaginations. First of all, he would like to ask, and then, in a second step, specifically answer these questions:




Do we still listen to the Garonne?

its banks, its seasonal flow? the wildlife that finds refuge there sometimes just for the time of migration? the turbines of a hydroelectric plant, and also those who practice its banks for leisure or because their profession is intimately linked?



How to listen to the Garonne?

from near or far? on the surface or immersed ears? standing or lying down? sitting or walking? fitted or naked ears?




Where to listen to the Garonne?

on the Ramier Island or at its source? in the engine rooms of the Bazacle or on the torrential slopes of the Pyrenees? at the confluence of the Ariège, under the air corridors of Blagnac, or even on the borders of the Metropolis in Saint Jory?




Why listen to the Garonne?

to become aware of its vitality, of the biodiversity of its different environments? to recharge your batteries, feel the flow like blood in our veins? to raise citizen questions, ecological issues? and why not just listen to it, together?

The Garonne over time and the seasons never stops questioning us:


"What cultural and landscape identity for the Garonne Valley?" wonders the SMEAG (Joint Syndicate of Studies and Development of the Garonne). As you will have understood, our project would like to bring a beginning of sensitive answers to this question in its strict relation to the soundscape. In order to pay, then share, a specific attention to observing, capturing, understanding landscapes in their sonic dimension, and to enhance the sound spaces of the Garonne with a view to their sharing and re-appropriation by all.



Furthermore, after having noted that “within the framework of its competence in terms of protection and enhancement of the environment, Toulouse Métropole is implementing actions to improve the quality of the sound environment throughout the territory ”, and without coming here to criticize or minimize quantitative actions a priori dealing with noise, nuisance and public health issues, we would like to ask what place is given to concrete, aesthetic and/or educational practices relating to the qualitative aspect that we bring to the sound environment by listening?


Indeed, trying to improve the sound environment does not only go through its regulation, its coercion, and its layout but especially and above all, through initiation to non-discriminatory active listening: a qualitative sound ecology that could meet at the invitation of John Cage: “If a sound bothers you: listen to it! "

The devices deployed in the territories :


1_« Listen ing to the soundscape » : initiation workshops to listening and field recording.

These workshops will be open to groups of 10 people (with the possibility of organizing them with classes of 30 students but then in two groups of 15p maximum) for sessions of 2 to 4 hours depending on the types of audience and the terms of reception. Our proposal is to organize one (4h) or two workshops (2h) per city and per month over 5 months (break in January / February). We can also imagine working with one or two groups over the entire period in order to go beyond the initiation stage and properly enter into the art of phoNography, or even initiate workshops by 4h assignment with a new audience every month. The workshops are accessible to all audiences from 8 years old.

2_« The Unheard Walks » : soundscape listening walks.

These listening walks will be offered between April and June for a day in each partner city. Each walk is an original creation (mainly from the sounds collected on site but also on other sites) created specifically for each site and in resonance with their specific landscapes. Each walk lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. The gauge is 20p per departure. We can organize 4 departures per day on the 2 days of a weekend.

This artistic proposition is entirely energy self-sufficient.

3_« Drift (s) " , the soundscapes of the Garonne over the seasons": sound nap.


This ephemeral sound installation will be offered after the sound collections (solo and workshops) in each partner city over the course of a week-end.


This nap - to listen under noise-canceling headphones comfortably installed on our deckchairs - is an original creation (entirely from the sounds collected on the 3 sites more possibly in other areas of the Garonne) created specifically for this occasion. This creation consists of the broadcasting of a soundtrack lasting 30 minutes. The installation has 20 to 40 deckchairs and is entirely energy independent.

4_« Phonographic Observatory of the Garonne» : geolocated sound mapping.


After 4 seasons of recording, this last step will close the project at the end of September 2020.


This sound map will be hosted on the Radio Aporee site, an online collaborative platform dedicated to phoNographies from all around the world. It will only contain audio pastilles of raw recordings which will be geolocated precisely at the place (GPS coordinates) of their collection. This map, in addition to giving a lasting and lasting trace of the project, is a contribution to the intangible heritage of the Metropolis and will be kept for life on this site. The audio recordings will be listenable to everyone wherever they are on the planet, making territories audible internationally. It should be noted that this map could also be used to feed scientific uses (bio acousticians, geographers, historians), or be able to serve as a sensitive basis for regional planning (urban planners, architects), or even as a tool educational guide to discover in an innovative way the sound geography of the Metropolis.

A major project in the medium or long term: 

Let us finish here by insisting on the fact that this project (which will initially be deployed in 3 municipalities of Toulouse Métropole) is a major project on the scale of a river ... This is why we would like to - in the medium or long term, as desired, partners and funding - listen, auscultate, collect, depict, recompose and share in situ these soundscapes of the Garonne, from its source to its mouth, in summer and winter, from 2019, and, I hope, over the longest possible time ...



Let us not let the 21st century engulf the sounds and audible landscapes in oblivion, when we can at this time permanently capture the waves, try to reveal their own identities, within a collective memory more lively and less fragmented, and finally and above all, share their concrete or imaginary resonances, in a generous way, in the heart of the place, with all the public.


This project is the winner of the call for cultural projects launched by Toulouse Métropole in February 2019. Initially planned to be carried out between September 2019 and September 2020

in the municipalities of Fenouillet, Saint-Jean and Beauzelle,

a number of workshops have already taken place between November 2019 and March 2020.

Following the health crisis, and the sudden cessation of our activities in connection with the public,

we look forward to reprogramming in agreement with the municipalities

all of our workshops and cultural actions from fall 2020.









Territories projects

Territories projects





bottom of page