What is a sociable acoustic?

What is a sociable public space and how does it sound? Can public sociability be “tuned”, and should it be? What different ideas of sociability can be found in distinct acoustic settings?

This workshop was the first of a series planned under the project Atelier TM, under the Collège d’études mondiales Global Cities chair, bringing together practitioners and researchers from the fields of sound and urbanism to explore the social dimensions of urban acoustics, and their relation to music.

Following provocations based on field recordings taken at Paris’ péripherique, the politics of listening, and the use of urban noise as a material for dance, a discussion raised questions around silence as a mode of dwelling in and designing urban space, and the representationality of urban soundscape.

In the afternoon these ideas were developed further through experiments in embodied encounter with urban space. A vocal workshop in the setting of the Chapelle Charbon public development site aimed to tune the hearing, demonstrating ways of navigating space acoustically and relating spatial conditions like distance to acoustic ones such as volume. Finally, a soundwalk following the acoustic shadow of the Boulevard Périphérique applied these approaches across a diverse series of peripheral urban spaces.

Drawing on these discussions and techniques, a follow-up workshop on the 13th June invites participants to share written, recorded, and performed responses to the question “what is a sociable acoustic?

Presentations: John Bingham-Hall, Richard SennettBrandon LaBelle


Vocal workshop: Alexandra Lacroix, Francois Rugier


Alexandra Lacroix
Artistic director, Compagnie Manque Pas d’Airs

Brandon LaBelle
Professor in New Media, Bergen Academy of Art and Design

Graeme Thomson
Cineaste, Artist in residence Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers

Silvia Maglioni
Cineaste, Artist in residence Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers

Adam Kaasa
Director, Theatrum Mundi

Sébastien Penfornis
Architect, TAKTYK

Caroline Claus
Sociologist and urban designer

Marta Gentilucci
Artist in residence, IRCAM

John Bingham-Hall
Researcher, Theatrum Mundi; Postdoctoral Fellow, FMSH

Richard Sennett
Sociologist, Global Cities chair holder FMSH

Véra Vidal Beneyto
Chair Coordinator, FMSH

Lorenzo Bianchi
Artist in residence, IRCAM

François Rougier
Singer, Compagnie Manque Pas d’Airs

Arnaud Hollard

Jean-Philippe Velu
Architect, Scenographer, Musician

Catherine Visser
Architect, DaF Architecten