ELDORADO : Iraq 2012 – 2013 (Designed Soundscape, Unity3D Environment)

Edouard Beau (Director, Photographer, Radio producer, National School of Photography of Arles, Casa de Velazquez; French Academy in Madrid, Le Pictorium Photo Agency, Radio France Culture, Arte, Paris, France).



Eldorado : Iraq 2017 is an experiential, anthropological and cognition system based on three-dimensional virtual reality. It enables poetical and emotional experimentation for the participant and permits a new approach on human studies through immersive and interactive learning processes. As a traveller, the occidental participant discovers unknown soundscapes whereby they can only relate through their own emotional processes and interpretations. The oriental participant could interact with some of the langages spoken in the recorded spatialised sounds that they will encounter whilst walking on the platform. This territory is Iraq at a time of global warming. The sounds were recorded all around the country before the rise of Isis, in 2012 – 2013. Through a Unity3D gaming system we can now enter the unconscious and subjective memory and meteorology of a territory, its complexities and populations semiotics expressed before a civil war, untranslated.


Eldorado : Iraq 2017 is a Unity3D platform that proposes an immersive discovery of a country concerned with global warming but also with great challenges, recovering from government destruction and a dramatically high rate of inter-ethnic violence which has caused great losses in terms of local, regional, social and economical landscape stability.

The destruction of Iraq unleashed a high rate of dislocation between ethnic communities, each one willing to benefit from the future reconfiguration of the country, including possible geographical and territorial conquests and disputes. As a reporter, film-maker and radio-producer, I was interested in documenting the

Iraq state in 2012-2013, recording sounds, interviews and field recordings that I expose now to experiential analysis inside an interactive, auto-generative virtual environment.

These sound documents were gathered from many different local communities in Iraq, from South to North, such as Yezidis, Kurds, Sunnis, Sufis, Shias, women at prayers, soldiers, shepherds or refugees, each community receiving the same level of attention or even between specific social roles. The recordings were very stochastic due to travelling and security conditions. The system proposed here aims to reproduce and make its own the aleatory behavior of the traveller inside an virtual environment. The different sound layers recorded will act as a subjective media archaeology of the country, carrying in itself some of the interrogations and local, regional and social ingredients for implementing a bright future, or not.

These layers of recent history are represented here and accessible through a discovery behaviour of the participant whilst walking in the Eldorado platform. Each sound source will interact with the participant in its preprogrammed area of interactivity. Then from one sound area to another the participant creates their own immersive narration depending on how much attention they pay to their environment, how much they are interested in discovering as well as their own displacement behaviour in the 3d environment. These three aspects will condition their own interaction, experiential and emotional reaction to the system.

The disorientation that results from immersion in the system is due to the impossibility to fix attention on a known form or language. The only sounds that the participant will recognise are random daily sounds, like cars and songs, traffic etc… On the language side, the musicality of the region will appear totally foreign to the participant (if they are not originally from the region) since it carries sound representations of another cultures social background and embeds other umwelt colors, codes, values, sonority and meaning. This created disorientation can allow and proposes to explore intuitional perception and the possibility to create a shift or a distortion in a self anthropocentrism, by acceptance of immersion in another culture.

This created  cultural paradigm shift can then become a major tool for understanding a « Sense of Place » in  a totally different and precise manner by only relating to intuitional interpretation as an analysis tool, then combined with previous or further transdisciplinarly knowledge.



In 2002, he started to document the life of those trying to flee to England, in Calais, France.

In 2009, he was awarded for his film «Searching for Hassan», the First Film prize at FID Marseilles and the Jury’s  Award at the Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival, Qatar 2010, Prix de Qualité, National Center for Cinematography, 2012.

In 2011 he graduated from National School of Photography, Arles.

In 2007 he narrowly escaped death in an explosion in Mossoul and in 2011 he made a photo and video essay on post-traumatic stress suffered by American veterans after the Iraq war, at the International Center of Photography in New York.

In 2011, he produces his first radiophonic creation on France Culture, french national channel, Irakistan, 55min.

In  2014,  he  became  an artist  member  of  the  French Academy in  Madrid,  Casa  Velazquez,  and  he undertook an immersive sound and photographic research on memories of the Spanish Civil War.

He then went to film the scarifications happening now in the Iraqi Kurdistan conflict with daesh.

Since then he has been working on the geographical and political upheavals in Iraq and Syria.

He today researches on means to portray contemporary history, and to convey emotions through documentary means.

Balance-Unbalance 2017

Balance-Unbalance (BunB)
is an International Conference designed to use art as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities.

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