February 02, 2018

The traffic sighs and the pavements throb

Mercedes Azpilicueta workshop (Photo credit: Ramiro Iturrioz)
Mercedes Azpilicueta workshop (Photo credit: Ramiro Iturrioz)

Performing Soundscape

Part of Nous ne sommes pas le nombre que nous croyons être, produced by Bétonsalon

Date: Friday 2nd February
Time: 13.00 – 17.00 
Location: Atelier 8217, 2e étage bâtiment A, Cité Internationale des Arts, 18 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville

In English. Comfortable clothes and a recording device (including smartphones) advised.

Led by John Bingham-Hall & Mercedes Azpilicueta 

Continuing its series of practical workshops investigating critical ways of hearing, recording, and sounding in Paris’ public realm, Theatrum Mundi is collaborating with the artist Mercedes Azpilicueta to present an Atelier TM session during We are not the number we think we are at Cité des arts, curated by Bétonsalon. The workshop draws on methods developed Azpilicueta’s practice, which explores the affective qualities of language and voice in public through phonography and performance.

Despite calls for a focus on embodied thinking, much study of cities in both design and social science settings is stuck in a Cartesian mode: the senses are used as instruments that measure light, sound, texture, and so on, to provide information for interpretation through the intellect and re-presentation as text. This form of knowledge-making – from sense, to thought, to words – may be habitual, but is no more inevitable than any other. What does this kind of practice miss about how it feels to be in public, that the intelligence of the body might reveal?

This workshop will challenge such a worldview by offering other ways to interrogate sensory (and specifically acoustic) information. Initially, participants will explore the immediate surroundings of the Cité des arts and collect sound recordings that seem to reveal something about their emotional, political, social, technical (or other –al) conditions. Re-assembling, we will analyse phenomena that are hard to put into words (tonality, rhythm, and timbre) using the full range of the body’s capabilities (movement, vocalisation, noise-making) to investigate and re-present the sensual foundations of the public sphere.


Mercedes Azpilicueta explores the affective qualities of language and of the voice, the political dimension of feminine desire, and the links between forms of embodiment, glocalities, and the notion of resistance. Within the framework of her residence at Villa Vassilieff, she is developing a filmed performance project bringing together the work of the Franco-Argentine artist Lea Lublin, the enigmatic tapestry series The Lady on the Unicorn, the literary aesthetics of Neobarroso Rioplatense, Chilean reggaeton, imaginary personages, and vagabonds of the inner-world, as well as concepts such as anthropophagic subjectivity or auto-histories – neologisms respectively attributed to Suely Rolnik and Gloria Anzaldua.

This workshop is organised by Atelier TM following an initial workshop The body as research tool: performing urban soundscape, which interrogated modalities of comprehension of urban space and its social implications through the prism of sound, body, and voice. It also follows the previous Atelier TM session Unlearning Listening