The Triangle of Uncertainty

Seascape Suite

Creation at La Pointe Saint-Mathieu, realised in the framework
of the “Irish Imaginary” events in France.

Sailors orient themselves at sea by means of natural landmarks along the coast. These points, such as church steeples, hills, water towers or lighthouses that are usually distinct from the rest of the coastline, are called landmarks. By identifying three of these landmarks in complementary directions, you can construct a triangle in which your ship will inevitably find itself: this triangle drawn on the navigation chart is called the “uncertainty triangle”.
The principle of the sound installation The Uncertainty Triangle follows the principle of triangular navigation by replacing these visual cues with acoustic cues. Lighthouses, buoys, on-board radios and many other technical installations warn the mariner of dangers or risks warn the mariner of dangers or obstacles. This installation project aims to construct a triangle of uncertainty on the terrain of a fictitious space, based on sound recordings made at the southern tip of Ireland (Fastnet Rock), the western tip of France (Brittany) and the westernmost point of Spain (Cape Finisterre, Galicia).

Sailors orient themselves at sea thanks to “Imagine the coastline seen from the Atlantic Ocean. There are the places you recognise, both distant and familiar:

lighthouses, capes, ancestral landmarks, and also the little things, the more familiar places, a house, a line on a cliff, and finally that little pinch that sailors feel when they return to port after a long voyage. These places of memory and recognition are called landmarks.

Now close your eyes to make room for the world of sounds. Imagine yourself in the middle of the ocean, looking for landmarks, for sound landmarks. Gradually, three directions emerge and the three axes form the triangle of uncertainty. To the northwest, the Fastnet, to the south the Cabo Finisterre and to the east, Le Conquet, the tip of Brittany.
The sounds of the landscape, wind, waves, the coastline, mingle with those of the maritime signs, lighthouses, buoys, radios, and then the ports, the docks, the crates being shredded, the fog horns. There are also the lighthouses, the seabirds, the fish market, the whole sonic soul of each place that unfolds, and, for a moment, you know where you are.

Cécile Le Prado recorded the voices of the maritime landscapes. And then, in the course of a patient process of transformation, she went from sound to music, digging into the mass of information to extract the musical identity of each of these three places, these three seasides.

The Triangle of Uncertainty is thus a musical installation in which you will travel. Cécile Le Prado thus invites you to replay the drama of the immobile traveller, awake on the sleeping storm, and, like the poet, to hear further than the horizon.
Michel Chion


 Commissioned by the Ministry
of Culture.
Coproduction: Ircam, Quartz de Brest, Parc de La vIllette

Mixing-mastering: Frédéric Prin
Musical assistant: Gilbert Nouno
Scientific expertise (spat®):
Jean-Marc Jot
Sound recording assistants:
Christian Dubet, Mar Pazos Oviedo