Live Stream, 2016 – Nuit Blanche, Paris
Live sound installation: hydrophones, speakers, underwater LED floodlights.
Microphones under the river's surface relay a live stream of the underwater sounds to an immersive sound installation on the Pont des Arts between the Louvre and the Académie Française.
"The river is full of sounds which are just beyond our reach. Sound travels five times faster through water than through air (that’s how whales and dolphins communicate over such long distances). When we listen underwater, a tiny boat which is only just visible in the distance can already be heard thrumming loudly as if it were close by. So the sounds of the Seine draw the city closer together. Under the water of the river a boat engine creates a set of frequencies, with harmonics, like a cello string when played with a bow. With underwater microphones – called hydrophones – under the Seine the whole underwater soundscape of Paris becomes audible.
By listening to the sounds on, under and around the Pont des Arts we can hear the gradually evolving soundscape of the city: boats, vibrations from the metro, the filtered traffic sounds and the distant voices of tourists, and the ceaseless flow of water.
The underwater soundscape is actually the sound of ‘silence’, in the Cagean sense. John Cage’s reflections on silence, and his famous 4’33”, consider silence as music. If we truly listen to the overlaying of naturally occurring sounds – they become a natural symphony for the city, organised in measures and movements by the rhythms of the river.