Listen, Describe, Represent


As the new spatial configuration, realized by Salima Naji, has privileged the sonic aspect of the water, my objective was to qualify the rehabilitation project of the Source Bleue from an auditory experience. The study focuses on two spaces with contrasting sound configurations: Aïn Zerka and Kasbah Aghenaj, including the adjacent streets leading to the spring. I started with an improvisatory soundwalk in order to get familiar with the context and to select the proper place and time to make sound recordings. The recordings represent the multiplicity of daily life situations, highlight the different components of the aural particularities generated by the presence of water, and therefore reveal the sonic identity of the spring.


Two types of recording were conducted: fixed points and short journeys, the latter helping to explore and understand the articulation between the different sonic ambiances. I obtained a sequence of 17 sound fragments – ten fixed points and seven short journeys – with an average duration of two minutes each. They are all illustrated – localized and numbered – on an illustration of the Source Bleue (Fig. 2). This type of representation has permitted me to understand the spatial framework conditioning the emergence of the sound phenomena (Gamal Saïd 2016a and 2016b.  All sounds are accessible on the blog of the project Zerka). In order to convey the intersensorial dimension of the sonic experience, the recordings are accompanied by a text that basically translates my own feelings, reinforced with a few short interviews conducted with space users that reveal their attachment and the meaning they ascribe to this place. The journal crosses sound dimensions with visual, bodily, emotional, and social experiences. Through this double corpus of text and sound recordings, it was possible to determine the particularities of the sound configurations of the Source Bleue. 

Fig. 1: The Source Bleue and the Kasbah following rehabilitation. © Salima Naji 

Fig. 2: Locations of sound recordings in the form of paths (red lines) and fixed points (blue points) © Noha Gamal Saïd