Philippe-Aubert Gauthier / Sound Art and Public Space

From our homes to the street, from ghetto blasters to headphones, from material forms to the radio waves crisscrossing the heavens, and even from the land line to the omnipresent cell phone, our individual and collective auditory sound cultures and practices are complex and intricate. Produced and constructed by both their users and technology, but also by the encounter between them, the distinctions between proximity and distance, the personal and the collective, have long been associated with physical separators of space : walls, doors, windows and buildings.

Today, however, from our home to the street, we inhabit the trace of the transition from the walkman to the cellular phone, which has indisputably reshaped our communities and auditory arenas. The symbolic constructs the home and privacy : sound media are right there with their sound systems and CD players, but, by means a kind of mobile privatisation, the status of aural privacy is charged with ambiguity. What is the place of sound mediation, listening and orality in this reshaping and crossing of lines, boundaries and separations (if they exist)?

In this edition of Espace [IM] Média, sound artists will explore these ideas. Two artists well-known for their sound art in the public domain, Gordon Monahan (Canada) and Brandon Labelle (Germany), have been invited; the latter is also known for his writings. On the topic of crossing spaces, proximity and mobile privatisation, this edition of Espace [IM] Média, in a manner not dissimilar to some of the ways work was presented in previous editions of the event, will inaugurate a unique method for presenting sound art: the Sound Window. This “window”, a small line of 16 loudspeakers demarcating the architectural boundary between Sporobole and the thoroughfare, overhangs the sidewalk and provides a singular listening experience, but also a singular creative experience. The artists Chantal Dumas (Canada), Erin Gee (Canada) and Anna Raimondo (Italy) will have the opportunity, in turn, to take up an artist’s production residency to work with this new platform for spatialised sound projection in urban space.

Philippe-Aubert Gauthier

The sound artist P.-A. Gauthier is also a junior mechanical engineer who holds a master’s of science degree and a doctorate in mechanical engineering. He is a researcher at the Université de Sherbrooke, working with acoustics and the spatial reproduction of sound. Since 1998, P.-A. Gauthier has developed an artistic practice in sound and media art. His work has taken many forms: fixed-support work, generative compositions, sound installations and spatializations, performance art and music.


Sound art and public space / Façade of Sporobole

The Sound Window is a permanent system for sound projection on the façade of Sporobole, along the sidewalk on Albert Street. Made up of sixteen loudspeakers, it makes it possible to enter into direct contact with passers-by making their way to the above-ground parking garage next door to Sporoble on city’s main street, Wellington. The linear arrangement of the sixteen speakers and their position at the geometrical interface between Sporobole and the thoroughfare make this new outdoor sound gallery a singular platform for sound spatialisation and the projection of works of sound art. Both fixed and moving sound compositions are possible: on the one hand, the platform provides a proximate listening spot, with passers-by exposed to one or more loudspeakers at a time; and on the other it can provide a more widely-encompassing listening point from the street. For Sporobole, the Sound Window is an opportunity to achieve an invisible presence in the public domain and its surrounding environment.


Sound art and public space / Canada /
July 31 to August 23/ Sound Window / 24 hours a day

The sound artist Chantal Dumas explores the medium through sound installations, radio fiction and electro-acoustics. An adept of field recording, her works are constructed out of and around found sounds. Her work traverses spaces both mental and physical, architectural and urban, natural and cultural. With 86,400 seconds, Sporobole has become a temporal landmark. A gigantic clock that is at the same time a metaphor for time makes it possible to hear the passage of time through sound events which bring back to conscious awareness, meaning to the aural foreground, what from the point of view of the sound materialises the measurement of time.


Sound art and public space / Italia /
August 24 to september 11 / Sound Window / 24 hours a day

The project questions the relationship between private and public, looking for intermediate acoustic spaces. What happens when the surfaces of liminal spaces such as doors and windows become invisible, converting into sound? I will record Sporobole’s doors and windows with different microphones and techniques to capture a combination of both recognizable and abstract sounds. I will compose them alongside the use of silence, intended as an acoustic space in which both concepts of public and private inhabit simultaneously. Anna Raïmondo is an Italian artist and curator. Her work, mainly based on voice and languages, is situated between sound and radio art ; between performance and intervention in public space – the processes of translation and relational areas featuring in her research.


Sound art and public space / Canada /
Sept. 12 to october 20 / Sound Window / 24 hours a day

7 Nights of Unspeakable Truth is a long-form composition that consists of documentation of Erin Gee’s dusk-till dawn searches for number stations on shortwave radio frequencies. Arranged in order, from day one to day seven, one will be able to walk through seven evenings of shortwave, synchronized in their respective times, in front of Sporobole, as part of Vitrine Sonore. This spatialization of each night will allow listeners to make comparisons, appreciating patterns demonstrated in Gee’s search as she consults research and online communities to tune into mysterious, unexplained broadcasts that consist only of numbers, tones and codes.