Sound Little Island

Jean Martin, Julian Weaver

Research output: Other contribution


Sound Little Island was a sound translocation from England to France, in which live-transmitted soundscapes and recordings were combined to create an experiential presence of place in another location. The sonic installation transmitted soundscapes from two locations in southern England, a pub in Brighton and a viaduct, to the ancient harbour tower Tour Saint Nicolas (Tour de la Lanterne) in La Rochelle, France, creating a hyperreal soundscape of England as a sonic presence in this iconic building.

The project examined the role of soundscapes in the awareness of contested notions of local and national identity, difference and connectedness. It focused on the relationship between England and the European Union, exploring the potential of sounds from ordinary life to challenge social and political preconceptions and reoreintate the debate around the meaning of Brexit. Artists have previously used locative sound to create awareness of environmental, ecological and political issues. Martin’s project drew in name and technique on Bill Fontana’s ‘Sound Island’ (1994), for which live-streamed sea sounds from the French coast were diffused at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Martin collaborated with Julian Weaver, an expert in adapting digital media technology for artistic purposes. Together they researched suitable locations for live source sounds; Martin also interviewed French workers in the UK, from whom he recorded statements. Visitors, including English tourists, heard live and recorded sounds from England, including the voices of French expatriates in Britain. The research demonstrated the practical application and accessibility of multiple speaker selection capability, and investigated the capacity of soundscapes to intervene in real spaces to support, enhance and alter public interpretation of major social and political topics.

Sound Little Island was commissioned by the ZERO 1 Festival des Arts et Cultures Numériques in La Rochelle, France and installed there in April 2017.
Original languageEnglish
TypeLive-streamed experimental sound installation
PublisherLive-streamed experimental sound installation
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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