Koshy's, St. Mark's Road, Bangalore (India) and Tokyo Eat, Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris. More images

Eating, drinking, talking
Images and sounds

We all know this special moment when we leave the outside world and open the door to a café or restaurant. We plunge into a world of its own which greets us with an incomparable mixture of voices, background music and the clatter of plates and glasses. During the evening the acoustic pattern of these mixed noises will change: at the beginning you can still hear fragments of conversation from neighbouring tables. After the first few drinks the mood and the sound level change, everyone is audibly more relaxed, and only individual phrases and loud laughter detach themselves from the hubbub of voices. There are elegant restaurants where people speak quietly and others in which it gets very loud. There are great halls and bistros the size of small rooms: you can hear these different dimensions with your eyes closed. And of course it sounds different when almost everyone is speaking Italian or Chinese. Is it possible to hear where one is located geographically or socially?

The project was exhibited in 2012 in the Paris Goethe institute and afterwards at Schloss Neuhardenberg near Berlin. An app which combines 36 photographs with the original sounds is available in the iTunes Store. It is only when hearing these voices and noises that an idea of the atmosphere of a place emerges – the empty space suddenly fills with life.

Stefan Koppelkamm, Eating, drinking, talking
The app for the iPad is no longer available.