Two Rivers

“All life is in the spiral and in the moon’s eclipse”

A sculptural sound and light installation

Two Rivers is a new, original IOU sound and light production fusing visual arts, sculpture, technology, spoken word, sound art, and installation. 

Two rows of desks create a long avenue for audiences to walk between. The open-fronted desks reveal trays of inscribed fragments of slate, reminiscent of specimen collections found in the basement of museums. Carved directly into the wooden surface of the desks on either side, there is the depiction of a river. The rivers flow along each desk, notionally joining desk to desk along the avenue. Around the rivers on each desktop is an intricate panorama of scenes of daily life carved into the surface of the wood in and around the rivers. 

Tiny speakers dangle above each of the desks from which we hear whispered voices calling to each other across the path between them. Phrases gather in intensity second by second creating rhythmic speech patterns, sending waves of sound rippling up and down the avenue. Rising up beneath the whispering voices from deep inside the desks, a soundscape evolves, extruded and processed from the sound of the voices. A layering of these sounds builds in intensity over the hour, interrupted each quarter by the ringing of a bell and culminating in a crescendo of sound on the hour. The sequence then begins again. 

At night, lights built into the desks illuminate their surfaces and the ground below with soft light, giving the installation a beautiful and mysterious presence. Two Rivers is a new outdoor installation developed from an indoor installation called Long Division. 

Two Rivers Exhibition, Walkway Gallery, April 2022


Two Rivers is easy to access as a promenade piece with its intriguing sound-scape, narrative and beautiful sculptural wood carvings.  The words create an atmospheric musical effect combined with the soundscape to create a contemplative, calm and moving experience that is interesting and sparks curiosity. Audiences will walk down the Two Rivers avenue, listening to the words and music and looking at the intricate carvings for stories and meaning. The soundscape lasts for 60 mins and plays continuously with audience dwell time around 20 mins. Approximately 30 people at any one time can dwell in the installation as they move through the avenue. 

Two Rivers is a durational piece that can run all day. Audiences can promenade through it in a covid-secure manner and it is suitable for all ages.  It is designed for both outdoors and indoors and is weatherproof.  Two Rivers is a contemplative piece suitable for multiple locations including churchyards, courtyards and quadrants, big empty buildings, rooms, galleries, tents,  sheds, side streets, gardens, greens, or woodland. 

Two Rivers is an IOU production.  Words written and performed by Louise Oliver, carvings by woodcut artist Richard Wincer and soundscape by musician and maker Dan Morrison.

The installation requires a single 13amp power source and a minimum space of 15m x 4m of reasonably firm flat ground.  There are two rows of five desks and each desk is 2400mm long and 450mm wide. With space between them and at each end, they create an avenue 15m long.  To create a well-spaced walkway between them 3m wide, ideally, the width of the space would be no less than 4m. 

Get in takes one day and get out one day. 

The installation is waterproof and requires heras fencing for overnight storage between shows.

Two Rivers has a good level of accessibility and is suitable for most audiences of all ages.
Access is through a single entrance which is also the exit.
Visitors move through over level ground along a route at a width that accommodates most wheelchairs and mobility scooters, wheeled walking aids and pushchairs. Visitors progress up one side and return to the exit on the other side.
The images, text and sound experience are encountered throughout the route.
If visitors ( for example those who are neuro diverse or have sensory impairment ) need to leave before arriving at the exit they have the opportunity to do so approximately halfway along the route.
The ‘soundscape’ element of the immersive experience that visitors pass through increases gradually in volume to a climax every 60 minutes. The sound then reverts to a quieter segment of the soundscape.
The text and imagery are sited at a level that wheelchair users can engage with and are at a level suitable for the majority of visitors. The text displayed is available in an alternative format and the voice-audio in text form and descriptive guided experiences can be provided in consultation with the venue.
Prepared by Goss Consultants 

Two Rivers

Wooden desks have slate inside, showing etchings on both the wood and slate.
A wooden desk with lit up element underneath reveals slate with etchings on.


Two Rivers is a contemplative piece for outdoors or indoors, suited to courtyards and quadrants, big empty buildings, rooms, galleries, tents, sheds, gardens, greens or woodland – almost anywhere but ideally situated away from constant intrusive noise and excessive music spill from other events. This installation will provide a quiet and calm contrast to a festival or live event.


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