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Dominique Petitgand: L'oreille interne

A solo show by Dominique Petitgand
gb agency
From March 23 to May 18, 2013


Dominique Petitgand
Je siffle, 2013

Sound installation with 5 speakers

Edition 3 (+ 2 A.P.)

Exhibition “L’oreille interne”, gb agency, Paris, 2013
Photo credits: Marc Domage

The sound installation Je siffle, transmitted through five speakers that straddle the two main spaces, broadcasts a nearly musical dotted line, an extended succession, interrupted by silences, of a long frayed whistling’s fragments.

A long broken whistling in search of its own melody, a primitive musical improvised speech (at the recording, proofread and corrected at the editing) without any preliminary thought, intention, preparation or construction, but nevertheless a live musical thought, created from its very self, moving forward at the mercy of melodious snippets, of suspended notes, of beginnings, suspensions, repetitions, hesitations, returns, variations.

Recorded all at once and offered to be listened to after the editing process, (re-reading, resumptions, erasure, punctuation, pauses, silences) inspired by the sound sequence such as recorded, the whistled sequences are broadcasted, one after the other, on the the five speakers, going from one to the other, the same way a person would do while walking around the gallery, without any other logic than that of the inner thought process.

This sound installation leaves the spaces empty (floors and centers unoccupied), only the speakers occupy the periphery of the walls.
It requires a listener in motion, in search of the sounds, of their appearances, of their displacements (from one speaker to the other), the sounds perceived from afar or nearby. It play swith the particularly reverberating acoustics of the spaces (no isolation device has been installed on the floors or the walls, the space is blank, raw), the sounds resonate, each short sequence is followed by its echo, the sounds hit against the walls, bounce, misleading us about their source.

Dominique Petitgand / Translation Alexandra Delage

Dominique Petitgand
Je siffle, 2013

Sound installation with 5 speakers

Edition 3 (+ 2 A.P.)

Exhibition “L’oreille interne”, gb agency, Paris, 2013
Photo credits: Marc Domage

The sound installation Je siffle, transmitted through five speakers that straddle the two main spaces, broadcasts a nearly musical dotted line, an extended succession, interrupted by silences, of a long frayed whistling’s fragments.

A long broken whistling in search of its own melody, a primitive musical improvised speech (at the recording, proofread and corrected at the editing) without any preliminary thought, intention, preparation or construction, but nevertheless a live musical thought, created from its very self, moving forward at the mercy of melodious snippets, of suspended notes, of beginnings, suspensions, repetitions, hesitations, returns, variations.

Recorded all at once and offered to be listened to after the editing process, (re-reading, resumptions, erasure, punctuation, pauses, silences) inspired by the sound sequence such as recorded, the whistled sequences are broadcasted, one after the other, on the the five speakers, going from one to the other, the same way a person would do while walking around the gallery, without any other logic than that of the inner thought process.

This sound installation leaves the spaces empty (floors and centers unoccupied), only the speakers occupy the periphery of the walls.
It requires a listener in motion, in search of the sounds, of their appearances, of their displacements (from one speaker to the other), the sounds perceived from afar or nearby. It play swith the particularly reverberating acoustics of the spaces (no isolation device has been installed on the floors or the walls, the space is blank, raw), the sounds resonate, each short sequence is followed by its echo, the sounds hit against the walls, bounce, misleading us about their source.

Dominique Petitgand / Translation Alexandra Delage

Dominique Petitgand
Je siffle, 2013

Sound installation with 5 speakers

Edition 3 (+ 2 A.P.)

Exhibition “L’oreille interne”, gb agency, Paris, 2013
Photo credits: Marc Domage

The sound installation Je siffle, transmitted through five speakers that straddle the two main spaces, broadcasts a nearly musical dotted line, an extended succession, interrupted by silences, of a long frayed whistling’s fragments.

A long broken whistling in search of its own melody, a primitive musical improvised speech (at the recording, proofread and corrected at the editing) without any preliminary thought, intention, preparation or construction, but nevertheless a live musical thought, created from its very self, moving forward at the mercy of melodious snippets, of suspended notes, of beginnings, suspensions, repetitions, hesitations, returns, variations.

Recorded all at once and offered to be listened to after the editing process, (re-reading, resumptions, erasure, punctuation, pauses, silences) inspired by the sound sequence such as recorded, the whistled sequences are broadcasted, one after the other, on the the five speakers, going from one to the other, the same way a person would do while walking around the gallery, without any other logic than that of the inner thought process.

This sound installation leaves the spaces empty (floors and centers unoccupied), only the speakers occupy the periphery of the walls.
It requires a listener in motion, in search of the sounds, of their appearances, of their displacements (from one speaker to the other), the sounds perceived from afar or nearby. It play swith the particularly reverberating acoustics of the spaces (no isolation device has been installed on the floors or the walls, the space is blank, raw), the sounds resonate, each short sequence is followed by its echo, the sounds hit against the walls, bounce, misleading us about their source.

Dominique Petitgand / Translation Alexandra Delage

Dominique Petitgand
Au bord du quai, 2011/2013

Sound installation with 2 speakers
Edition 3 (+ 2 A.P.)

Exhibition “L’oreille interne”, gb agency, Paris, 2013
Photo credits: Marc Domage

The sound installation Au bord du quai is located on two speakers hung from one of the walls of the second space of the gallery. We can hear a series of recordings, at the edge of the platform, passings of full speed trains, and the feeling that someone cuts your head off. Abrasive sequences, punctuated, flung, held back, by ultra-short percussive sounds, comparable to manipulations of glassware. These micro-structured sequences, interrupted by very long silences, seem to happen almost by chance, right in the middle of the other sound work’s sequences (Je siffle) present in the exhibition, which they come to perturb, awaken, interfere with.

The two sound installation are thus displayed in staggered rows, time-related speaking, space-related also (since one bites into the other’s space).

Dominique Petitgand / Translation Alexandra Delage

Dominique Petitgand
Mes écoutes, 2004/2013

Silent video, 136 texts
Edition 7 (+ 2 A.P.)

Exhibition “L’oreille interne”, gb agency, Paris, 2013
Photo credits: Marc Domage

Mes écoutes is a silent work. Hung at the back of an alcove, a video screen plays one after the other, the time required to read each of them, a series of 136 short texts in white letters on a black background.

This is a project that I initiated in 2004, the set displayed is the most recent version to date, 136 texts from a work still in progress.
Each text describes how I listen in my own life. I am the listener who says I : a miraculous situation, a usual behavior, a memory, a state, from memory or described on the spot.

Each text has a title, is at the same time autonomous and the component of a whole (this is how I always proceed: I make miniatures of which I think at the same time the autonomy and the place they can hold within a whole). A whole which builds up over the years, by addition, with no preliminary plan, no end.
This long onscreen display appears to have no beginning and no end, and is intended, unlike the sound installations that require a moving listener, for an immobile reader, seated on a bench.

Dominique Petitgand
Translation Alexandra Delage

Dominique Petitgand
Mes écoutes, 2004/2013

Silent video, 136 texts
Edition 7 (+ 2 A.P.)

Exhibition “L’oreille interne”, gb agency, Paris, 2013
Photo credits: Marc Domage

Mes écoutes is a silent work. Hung at the back of an alcove, a video screen plays one after the other, the time required to read each of them, a series of 136 short texts in white letters on a black background.

This is a project that I initiated in 2004, the set displayed is the most recent version to date, 136 texts from a work still in progress.
Each text describes how I listen in my own life. I am the listener who says I : a miraculous situation, a usual behavior, a memory, a state, from memory or described on the spot.

Each text has a title, is at the same time autonomous and the component of a whole (this is how I always proceed: I make miniatures of which I think at the same time the autonomy and the place they can hold within a whole). A whole which builds up over the years, by addition, with no preliminary plan, no end.
This long onscreen display appears to have no beginning and no end, and is intended, unlike the sound installations that require a moving listener, for an immobile reader, seated on a bench.

Dominique Petitgand
Translation Alexandra Delage

Dominique Petitgand
Je siffle, Au bord du quai, 2013

Sound installations

Exhibition “L’oreille interne”, gb agency, Paris, 2013
Photo credits: Marc Domage

Dominique Petitgand
Je siffle, Au bord du quai, 2013

Sound installations

Exhibition “L’oreille interne”, gb agency, Paris, 2013
Photo credits: Marc Domage

gb agency comprises three spaces,
two large spaces connected to each other, both heigh-ceilinged, with reverberating acoustics,
and a small alcove on one side, hidden at first glance,

the exhibition includes three artworks,
two sound installations and a text work,
the sound installations ‘Je siffle’ (2013) and ‘Au bord du quai’ (2011 / 2013) take place in the two large main spaces of the gallery,
while ‘Mes écoutes’ (2004 / 2013), a series of texts on a video screen,
occupies the small alcove,
the two sound installations leave the two spaces empty (floors and centers unoccupied),
only the speakers occupy the periphery of the walls,

they require a listener in motion, in search of the sounds,
of their appearances, of their displacements (from one speaker to the other),
the sounds perceived from afar or nearby,

the two sound installations play with the particularly reverberating acoustics of the space,
no isolation device has been installed on the floors or the walls,
the space is blank, raw,
the sounds resonate, each short sequence is followed by its echo,
the sounds hit against the walls, bounce, misleading us about their source,


‘Je siffle’, transmitted through five speakers that straddle the two main spaces,
broadcasts a nearly musical dotted line
(I say nearly musical because I don’t know where exactly the music starts),
an extended succession, interrupted by silences,
of a long frayed whistling’s fragments,

a long broken whistling in search of its own melody,
a primitive musical improvised speech (at the recording, proofread and corrected at the editing)
without any preliminary thought, intention, preparation or construction,
but nevertheless a live musical thought, created from its very self,
moving forward at the mercy of melodious snippets, of suspended notes,
of beginnings, suspensions, repetitions, hesitations, returns, variations,

musical thought, speech without words or language,
degree zero of composition,

recorded all at once and offered to be listened to after the editing process,
(re-reading, resumptions, erasure, punctuation, pauses, silences)
inspired by the sound sequence such as recorded,

the whistled sequences are broadcasted, one after the other, on the five speakers,
going from one to the other,
the same way a person would do while walking around the gallery,
without any other logic than that of the inner thought process,


As for ‘Au bord du quai’, it is located on two speakers hung from one of the walls of the second space,
one can hear a series of recordings, at the edge of the platform, passings of full speed trains,
and the feeling that someone cuts your head off,
abrasive sequences, punctuated, flung, held back, by ultra-short percussive sounds,
comparable to manipulations of glassware,

these micro-structured sequences, interrupted by very long silences,
seem to happen almost by chance, right in the middle of the other work’s sequences,
which they come to perturb, awaken, interfere with,

the two sound pieces in the exhibition are thus displayed in staggered rows,
time-related speaking,
space-related also (since one bites into the other’s space),
the two sound installations seem to be temporally infinite,
like all my installations indeed,
the durations are not communicated to visitors,
because during an installation, it is always

by effects of constant changes, repetitions, back and forth, micro-variations, progression in spiral (editing effects),
and presence of silences
(every silence = a possible entry point or exit point),


in the whistlings’ piece, I am the whistler,
it is my voice, my melodic inventions, my improvisations,
my breath,
if this fact does not represent (embody ?) the main sense of the work,
it can nevertheless produce a secondary perception, like a selfportrait I’d have drawn more or less consciously,
but this is not the main fact, the hidden meaning,

I always have, for all my works,
to stay as undefined, ambivalent, abstract, open, suspended as possible,
to leave empty room for the other,

the listener should eventually hear his own whistlings, his own inner thought process,
the reader should put himself in my I, in my texts,


‘Mes écoutes’ is a silent work,

hung at the back of the alcove, a video screen plays one after the other,
the time required to read each of them,
a series of 136 short texts in white letters on a black background,
this is a project that I initiated in 2004,
the set displayed is the most recent version to date,
136 texts from a work still in progress,
each text describes how I listen in my own life,
I am the listener who says I,
a miraculous situation, a usual behavior, a memory, a state,
from memory or described on the spot,

each text has a title, is at the same time autonomous and the component of a whole,
(the same way my sound pieces are all autonomous and parts of a whole)
this is how I always proceed:
I make miniatures of which I think at the same time the autonomy and the place they can hold within a whole,
a whole which builds up over the years, by addition,
with no preliminary plan, aim, end or intention,

with, at each step, the feeling to get to a possible ending,
discovering nevertheless a new flaw, a new lead, a new extension,

this long onscreen display appears to have no beginning and no end,
and is intended, unlike the sound installations that require a moving listener,
for an immobile reader, seated on a bench.

Dominique Petitgand, work notes (February 2013)