DEMO47 DIMITRI DELPHIN — La Plage aux Crabes

May 2024

La Plage aux Crabes is an immersive installation by Dimitri Delphin [student member, UQAM] that invites the public to explore an undefined space between reality and imagination, accompanied by sound fragments from cancer survivors. Influenced by the sea’s shifting mood and various testimonies, visitors are drawn into an intimate account of illness.

This work explores the place of temporality and the forces ofReliance, or re-binding, (the act of connecting, of creating links between people or systems) in illness, and questions our relationship to the woes that shape our identity. La Plage aux Crabes is thus a personal outlet, but also an invitation to reflect on the life experiences we all share and their transmission to future generations.

Using an immersive sound device, this creation proposes a shared narrative between several lives, inviting visitors to connect with their own memories and emotions. La Plage aux Crabes is thus an introspective experience that invites everyone to reflect on their own story and share their experiences with others.

Intentions and Anchors

Drawing from the concepts proposed by Alberganti (2013), Dimitri Delphin decides to work with an immersive sound setup: a dome equipped with 32 speakers. This setup becomes both a composition tool and a standalone medium, allowing manipulation of Alberganti’s notion of frontier in immersive multimedia setups.

Grounding his research in the narrative construction proposed and studied by Ricœur (1983), Dimitri Delphin, through a series of interviews, constructs a new narrative from fragments of lived experiences while assigning them a temporal value. This collection of multiple temporalities then becomes a linear narrative that only exists through the causal link between these fragments. These story fragments can be broadcast within the installation using their temporal values as a guide for spatial movement. The dome is divided into 4 zones: the Past, the Present coming from the Past, the Future, and the Present coming from the Future. The sound diffusion is linear, but its perception by the audience is fragmented in space.

The spatial narrative construction subsequently provides Dimitri with the opportunity to create a spatialized sound universe aimed at inducing a tension to establish a boundary that the audience will gradually cross within the installation (Alberganti, 2013). It is not the space that is immersive, but the sensitivity created by it in the visitor’s body that makes the space and the artwork immersive.

Seating arrangement in circles within the dome with 32 speakers for the presentation on December 10th and 11th, 2024. ©︎Maude Turcot

Sound and Spatial Compositionle

La Place aux Crabes was born through a series of iterations carried out during the research, allowing Dimitri to continually question the balance of the narrative and its purpose. Five interviews (including his own) were conducted during which a genuine exchange between the participants and the artist took place. These 15 hours of recordings were then reviewed, classified, and given a determined temporal value based on the temporality of the actions described in these fragments.

A first version of the artwork was thus developed in a dome equipped with 16 speakers using the editing software Reaper and the SPAT Revolution software for spatialization. These two tools remained present from the beginning to the end of the project. This iteration, lasting 16 minutes, presented the initial research results and the establishment of the artwork’s universe. It was during an initial residency at the mezzanine of Hexagram UQAM that Dimitri was able to work on his true spatial composition thanks to the dome with 32 speakers.

3D rendering of the dome with 32 speakers. ©︎Dimitri Delphin

The interviews led to the emergence of the three chapters of the artwork as well as the main atmosphere of the universe. The notion of cycles, which constantly recurred in the discussions and was accompanied by the Latin origin of the word cancer, which is “krabe,” quickly imposed the universe of the sea. This, far from the medical environment, also offers the opportunity to create a distinct set of soundscapes. The chapters then evolve both the narrative and the universe that accompanies them:

1. Turbulent Waters: the first pains, the first worries. The moment when our whole life changes and the wave engulfs us.

2. The Storm: at the deepest level, the cycles are set in motion, as is the new reality. The psychological, but also physical, impact leads us into the sometimes dark depths of the disease.

3. The Tides: after the storm, the establishment of a new cycle. The presence of cancer will be there, to varying degrees, at different moments in our lives.

The second version was presented on May 1st, 2023, during a private presentation to obtain a set of feedback from the audience. This valuable feedback allowed Dimitri to work on the final version of the artwork. Accentuating the possibilities offered by the 32-speaker system, significant work was done to condense the piece into a final version of 20 minutes, reworking the sensitivity issues of spatial diffusion. The layering of voices and the expansion to an even wider sound space helped to enhance the immersion of the audience by bringing them closer to the emotions experienced by his former patients.

Spectators listening to the presentation in the dome with 32 speakers. ©︎Maude Turcot
Spectator listening to the presentation in the dome with 32 speakers. ©︎Maude Turcot

Public Presentation

La Plage aux Crabes was publicly presented on December 10th and 11th, 2024. The presentation, attended by over 95 people, allowed the artist to gather new feedback and assess the impact of this project on the audience. The participants from the interviews who were present were able to share their feelings with Dimitri and confirm that his proposal is a new way to share their stories with their loved ones.

Please listen with headphones.
Spectator listening to the presentation in the 32-speaker dome.  ©︎Maude Turcot
Spectators holding hands during the presentation in the 32-speaker dome. ©︎Maude Turcot

Recording on the presentation on December 9th, 2023

Please listen with headphones.

Alberganti, A. (2013). De l’art de l’installation : la spatialité immersive. Éditions L’Harmattan.

Ricœur, Paul. (1983). Temps et récit. Éditions du Seuil

Dimitri Delphin is a digital artist who explores universal questions through unique experiences. His artistic practice is nourished by his life experiences and expertise in multimedia creation. Graduating in film editing and visual effects in France, and then specializing in interactive media in Montreal, he has worked as a multimedia project manager in various creative companies. In the fall of 2021, he decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Communication, with a research-creation profile, in experimental media at UQAM to continue developing his creative process. Dimitri creates works that touch on narratives and testimonies, using content acquired through different media, to provoke new reflections on our common stories. He divides his time between his research, and his design and production mandates in digital art as a consultant.


Dimitri would like to thank his research supervisor Simon-Pierre Gourd [collaborating member, UQAM] as well as his co-supervisor Louis-Claude Paquin [co-investigator member, UQAM], Elisa Sibert [student member, UQAM], Kasey Pocius [student member, McGill] as well as the Groupe de Recherche sur la Médiatisation du Son (GRMS) and the Hexagram-UQAM team for their support throughout the residencies.

Cette publication est également disponible en : Français (French)