Two Rivers

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

Two Rivers is an atmospheric sculptural sound and light installation, redolent of patterns we find in nature and the cycles of growth and decay.

Two rows of tall, spindly 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. 

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.

The words create an atmospheric musical effect combining with the variations in the arrhythmic soundscape, but are rewarding to listen to carefully, creating a contemplative and calm experience. Therefore, the installation is best suited to a wide range of quieter locations such as gardens, galleries, courtyards, warehouses, churches, greens and woodlands. 

The desks are an important part of the installation, practically to contain the technology and metaphorically with the theme of the production. Using this and the words we hear in the installation as inspiration, IOU commissioned Artist Richard Wincer to carve directly into the surfaces of the desks, creating an intricate panorama of scenes, linking desk to desk along the length of the installation.

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 exhibited at IOU, Dean Clough.


Within the desks, lie inscribed fragments of slate, reminiscent of specimen collections found in the basement of museums. 


Speakers dangle from above the desks.


Engraving and etchings on the desks, as well as the slate underneath create layers of texture and depth.

The Origin of Two Rivers.

Two Rivers was conceived from a previous IOU production – Long Division, which has been available to tour since 2017.

As a result of recent global events this production was earmarked for conversion to an outdoor production. Through artistic R&D the production gained a new perspective, and was renamed Two Rivers.

You can read more about the process behind the making of Two Rivers, here.

Montage of black and white photographs stuck to a wall.
A wooden etching has contrasting foreground of dark wood, the etching creates a pale background and forms the shape of a man holding our his hand, sat next to a rive.

Two Rivers has been developed with the help of Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund and is based on Long Division, an installation created by IOU and originally commissioned by Oxford Contemporary Music and Oxford Botanic Garden.

Two Rivers is based on Long Division, an installation created by IOU and originally commissioned by Oxford Contemporary Music and Oxford Botanic Garden. Long Division is a sound installation that is adapted to venues using hidden speakers and is also available to promoters. 

Words by Louise Oliver and soundscape by Dan Morrison.

Two Rivers is fully accessible and suitable for audiences of all ages.

IOU is able to provide the voice-audio in text form and descriptive guided experiences can be provided in consultation with the venue.

 “Your gaze is like a laser. There is no place to hide.  I lurk amongst the shadows but am electrified.”

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. 

Booking enquiries

Contact: Lydia Murray, Creative Producer 


Detailed technical specifications, marketing pack and costings are available upon request.