Under the Seine

20 April 2011

During the Siege of Paris between 1870- 71, the Prussians disrupted the communication into and out of Paris.  They cut the last secret telegraph cable, located in the bed of the River Seine on 27 September.  CAMAC is situated in between the River Seine and a transport canal.

Using hydrophones (underwater microphones), I have recorded a conversation that I and a friend had while in Paris together.  We took it in turns to dunk our heads into water and relay the conversation.  The initial idea was inspired by the connection to the River Seine and the notion of communication being disrupted.

Listen to Under the Seine Approx 3 mins

Script for Under the Seine

Lucy: So what do you think I should base this conversation on for my next piece?

Matt: I’m not sure? Does it have to be on Paris and pigeons?

Lucy: No- Well the reason I want to do this is because I’m interested in the connection it has with the River Seine.

Matt: You said that before.

Lucy: But its interesting!

Matt: I’m not saying its not.

Lucy: The Prussians found the last secret telegraph cable in the bed of the Seine.

Matt: Why are they called Prussians?

Lucy: I’m not sure. It was called the Franco- Prussian War. The Prussians were German, part of the German empire.

Matt: So it was the French- German War?

Lucy: I guess so. So anyway, the Prussians found the cable and cut it, so that any communication into or out of Paris during the siege was disrupted. That’s why they had to use balloon mail and pigeons to carry messages.

Matt: You could base your conversation on two very different things- either really funny or really serious.

Lucy: I’m rubbish at being funny, really bad

Matt: I know

Lucy: I’ve tried before with a piece of artwork and it was shit.

Matt: It could be really serious and informative.

Lucy: and boring? I don’t want to read Wikipedia and just regurgitate it back to people. Or for us to pretend that we are from the 1870’s .

We have already practiced with recording ourselves under water and taken photographs of each other. The conversation should definitely be about us. Maybe it could be really personal- you know, about us and our relationship?

Matt: Well I’m not sure. No, I’m not comfortable with that.

Lucy: Ok, just an idea… what about this place then?

Matt: About CAMAC and your experience?

Lucy: It could be about my expectations of the residency and what I was told from other artists.

Matt: You were really nervous before you came.

Lucy: Yeah, about having no ideas and producing no work… and from the things other artists had told me- the whole bed bug thing and being vegetarian.

Matt: You cant write about that!

Lucy: Why not?

Matt: Its a negative advert for this place and its great here!

Lucy: I know, I’m not saying that it has bed bugs. I was just told that by another artist. The fact that your getting so upset about it makes me want to use it.

Matt: How rebellious of you.

Lucy: Its art, and anyway there are no barriers or censorship with art. No one is going to get upset over that!

Matt: Well why don’t you just base your work on this conversation? You should have recorded it.


About Lucy Stevens

Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Installation, Recording. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Under the Seine

  1. Pingback: CAMAC Open studio event « Pigeon Post

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