The space of sound

Olivier Toulemonde

from 3 to 6 December 2018

The title of this workshop is to be heard from two different angles: a space of time and place devoted to sound, in which it is a question of awareness of listening, but also a space of exploration of the physical space, in which the architecture of the place is put to the test of sound.

Through listening to some sound works, the students first learned to listen to the sounds for themselves, detached from their visual sources and the meaning they convey, and we listened closely to everything that makes up the quality of a sound, without any aesthetic judgment.

Once we had learned how to listen in depth to noise, we chose a few spaces in the high school to put them to the test of sound. We have tried to see how the sound production can highlight the intrinsic features of a place and how the architecture of this place can give a musical form to the noise produced. To do this, we were inspired by the composition of La Monte Young “Poem for flesh, table, benches, etc…”, which consists in dragging tables and/or chairs on the floor, in order to obtain continuous sounds. Based on this example and other simple means to implement, we have established sound trajectories in space, horizontally in corridors or vertically on stairs…

Each sound experiment, linked to the architecture of the place, gave rise to a work integrated into the digital museum. These works take the form of sound videos.

In accordance with the intention of the L’ESPACE DU SON project, we searched the high school for different places/spaces that were distinguished from others by their acoustic and geometric characteristics. In addition, we have chosen to keep only shared spaces, such as collective living and learning spaces such as the 3C, or intermediate spaces such as corridors or staircases.

For each of the chosen spaces, we have tried to use its acoustic and geometric features to create in situ a sound composition that illuminates its architectural dimension.

The 3C: A place of research, reading and silence, this space has led us to work on the voice, and in particular the whispered voice. The participants each chose a book from the library, distributed themselves at different points in the space and read their book in a whisper.

Chemmi moved through space, microphones in hand, to hear as closely as possible the sound of each participant’s voice, without ever stopping for a long time on one of them. More than stories and narratives, which we understand only by fragments, what we hear is the intimacy of each voice, as if it was telling us a secret in the ear. Intimacy reinforced by the fragility of the reading, a kind of nakedness for each participant. This sound recording reflects the essence of this place, which is the dual individual/collective dimension of a shared place in which everyone comes individually to work, explore, feed or rest.

Corridors: The school’s corridors appear as broad lines that separate or connect the different spaces. When it comes to sound, they seem particularly interesting to us because they carry within them a temporality – the time necessary to cross this space – which is an essential feature of the sound. Indeed, if an image can be seen instantly, the sound can only be heard over time. The corridor is therefore a perfect metaphor because we can see the end of it immediately, but it will take us a long time to go through it. We chose to “ring” two different corridors by scratching different chairs on the floor, from one end of the corridor to the other, in order to obtain an uninterrupted sound. The result is a long and continuous sound complaint, produced by two individuals whose applied action seems as derisory as it is serious.

The stairs: We are interested in stairs for their verticality. They are intermediate spaces of passage. Passages are required from one level to another. They are also places of movement, of flow, with a high concentration of people at certain times, at the precise moment of the inter-courses. We therefore chose to make this double flow/verticality feature heard, by pouring and dropping 600 ping-pong balls.

Speaker : Olivier Toulemonde.

List of students participating in the « The space of sound » workshop :
Enzo Etchessahar, Maëva Hervas, Chemssy El Gharbi, Valentine Rios, Arnaud Bignon, Léa Minjou, Salomé Jubely, Rémi Chastain, Marina Bruneau, Alexia Akouete,  Daniela Francisco Bernardo,  Anna Palay, Anaïs Richmond.

Teachers and associated educational staff : Benoît Cazaubon and Christophe Suarez.

The garden of Ipotêtu

Lyn Nékorimaté

Ipotêtu’s choreographies

Lyn Nékorimaté & Sébastien Garciaz

The space of sound

Olivier Toulemonde

Stratigraphic wanderings

Elsa Mazeau

Memory and poetry of the carrot

Elsa Mazeau

Memorized prospectings

Laurence Cornet

Perform the facade

Elsa Mazeau

Ghosts of paradise

Yu-Ting Su & Fabrice Cotinat


Fabrice Cotinat & Yu-Ting Su

The large gallery

Jean Paul Labro

The great sphere

Jean Paul Labro & Sébastien Garciaz