Décor Sonore

The Kaleidophones

Artistic direction : Michel Risse

A collection of giant sculptures set in the open space, raising public awareness of the soundscape and urging the passer-by to listen to the world.

Each piece of this collection, both a giant sculpture and a device of acoustic exploration, is an original work designed together by the composer Michel Risse and a stage-designing artist, in accordance with specific acoustic requirements. Beyond the visual attraction and curiosity aroused by these astonishing “big ears”, anyone yielding to the temptation of wearing the headphones will discover a world full of surprises; while scanning a hitherto banal world of sounds, each movement of the cornets reveals a thousand new details, just like an acoustic kaleidoscope: a kaleidophone.

Freely inspired by the fantastic acoustic locators designed between the two World Wars to track the enemy aircrafts concealed by clouds or darkness, these sound sculptures significantly increase our stereophonic perception and make it more selective. The soundscape can thus be scanned, cut up, framed by the listener, who will become aware of unexpected, poetical, inexplicable details.

Set up in the public space, the Kaleidophones call to mind scientific observation instruments, sound binoculars for close-up listening, bizarre flowers in the shape of shells, old phonograph receivers, cornucopias, satellite dishes, all of which the visitor can freely direct by hand. Pointed at the soundscape, they invite to a different listening of the city, of nature, and of the whole world in-between.

A painting is made not by the artist but by those who look at it
Marcel Duchamp

Nowadays more than ever, we need to meet other people in a public space, to gather round something which, far beyond our different faiths, makes us spontaneously and unexpectedly feel innocent, close to other people, and at the same time true to ourselves, enjoying our being there, learning new games to be played together.

The kaléidophones are basically giant artworks, set up in the city and symbolizing our active listening of its sounds. Together they build up an “installation”, in the modern sense of contemporary art: an ensemble, a world of their own in which, as we are not in a museum, any passer-by becomes a ”looker” allowed to wander, experience, live, listen freely to the sculptures. Better still, by using them he can listen to the world, and be touched by the sounds. For sounds do touch us – literally.



Artistic direction : Michel Risse

Technical direction : Renaud Biri

With :
Renaud Biri
Yoann Cottet
Cédric Lasne
Julien Pillet
Michel Risse
Sévane Sybesma

Each piece of this collection is an original work designed together by the composer Michel Risse and a stage-designing artist :

Benoît Afnaïm (cie La Française de Comptages)
Marc Anquetil (Ateliers Sud Side)
Matthieu Audejean (Ateliers Sud Side)
Vincent Brédif
Chloé Bucas & Amora Doris
Christophe Evette & Maurizio Moretti (cie Les Grandes Personnes)
Michel Lagarde & Eloi Miehe
Valentin Monnin (cie La Rue de la Casse)
Philippe Moutte (Ateliers Sud Side)
Claude Nessi

Costumes : Fabienne Desflèches

Artistic collaborations :
Olivier Comte (Les Souffleurs - Commandos Poétiques)
Françoise Guillaumond (cie La Baleine Cargo)


Partners :

Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication / DGCA
Région Ile‐de‐France
Lieux Publics – Centre National de Création en Espace Public
Sur le Pont - CNAR en Aquitaine / Limousin / Poitou-Charentes (ex - Aux Usines Boinot)
Le Citron Jaune – CNAR de Port Saint Louis du Rhône
Le Festival de l'Oh !
L'Abbaye de Noirlac

Special thanks :
Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional d'Aubervilliers - La Courneuve


Listening to the real world

From landscape to soundscape

A story of (acoustic) horns, (hearing) trumpets, and (sound) dishes

The listening sculptures

The portable models

Performances schedule

Where the Kaleidophones have been, and where to see them next...