Lavinia Greenlaw: Audio Obscura

13 September - 23 October 2011
Lower concourse, St Pancras International Station
(between Marks & Spencer and Le Pain Quotidien)

St Pancras Photograph by Julian Abrams

Audio Obscura is an immersive sound work originally presented as a temporary project in 2011. Since July 2015 it has been available to listen to online or to download. It is intended to be experienced in St Pancras International Station, London, but works well in any busy railway station.

It is essential to use noise-cancelling headphones. Listeners are encouraged to post their comments about their experiences of the work on the Soundcloud timeline.

In the busy public spaces of a station, everyday dramas are constantly being acted out: people are waiting or rushing, engaged in conversation or lost in thought. They catch our attention because they raise a question and fail to answer it. Why is that child crying or that woman laughing? What did he mean? Why are that couple not speaking? Who is he kissing?

In Audio Obscura, equipped with headphones, listeners enter the crowd. Boundaries dissolve as fragments of individual narratives and glimpses of interior worlds glance off one another. Overhearing these voices, the listener is immersed in private thoughts in a very public space, and find that they cannot help but project what they hear onto the people they see.


Commissioned and produced by Artangel and Manchester International Festival. Artangel gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Emmanuel Roman. This project is supported by Arts Council England, Special Angels and The Company of Angels.