Listening to the Space In My Room

Listening to the Space In My Room

“The life of a sound should inhabit the film frame,’ wrote Robert Beavers in one of his numerous notebooks. Of all the astonishing films in his singular body of work, Listening to the Space in My Room is perhaps the film that manifests the life of sounds in the most evocative way. Between 2002 and 2012, Beavers lived on the ground floor of an old house in Zumikon, a quiet Zurich municipality, just underneath his landlords, Cécile and Dieter Staehelin, a retired doctor and a cellist, respectively. This film is a lyrical ode to the Staehelins and to life in this long-shared place, as well as an exploration of resonance as acoustic signature of a space, connecting sound and space through the element of time. Throughout the film, Beavers articulates zones of permeability – between floors, between garden and interior, between subjectivities. Cello tones and birdsong join the crackle of creaking floorboards and the muffled sounds of footsteps and conversation, extending the meditation on the acoustics of shared inhabited space. (Courtisane)


“There were several other fascinating portraits on view in the experimental Wavelengths section at Toronto, but none so invigorating as Robert Beavers’ aptly titled Listening to the Space of My Room. Imagine someone boiling down all the impermanent sensations, routines, memories, and emotions that make a home a home into an intensely flavorful reduction, and you begin to understand Beavers’ stunning film. He and his housemates are crystallized at work: the camera sways with the hands of an older man bowing his cello; observes an older woman tending her garden from inside the darkened house; mirrors Beavers himself examining individual frames of film to stage his somatic cuts. The intricately interlaid tracks of sound and image do not abide any standard measure of continuity, and yet there’s something immediately comprehensible in this exquisitely tuned song of the body in space.”

Max Goldberg1


“At about midpoint in the film we hear the sound of rain first introduced with black leader and then accompanying a pan as the rain falls on the garden and elephant leaves. This rich and complex soundscape breathes with life and exudes a quality which opens the soundtrack to the outside – to that which is traditionally outside of music (noise) and to the world beyond the visual space of film.”

Luke Fowler2  


“A problem of filming one's life: one becomes someone else. What Beavers documents, through clinking teacups and chittering birds, the dissolution of leaves and snow into the ground, is only the endless process of transition. Flowers transform shades in shifting shadows and seasons, while the process of domestic labor has no culmination, end. The outer world can continue to be coordinated into some internal order ad infinitum. When the cellist waves his hands in injunctive fury, Beavers’ camera, as if mobilized by his gesture, spins around his hands for a burst of a second as sudden as his movements.”

David Phelps3

UPDATED ON 11.03.2024
IMDB: tt3120868