multi media installation in collaboration with Robert van Heumen
based on the novel “The Invention of Solitude” by Paul Auster

50 wireless headphones, 4 loudspeakers,
3 channel video on 15 translucent screens

electronic soundscape and composition by Robert van Heumen
video and staging by Arnoud Noordegraaf

premiere: 16 November 2005, Vooruit, Gent (November Music).


"To repeat Pascal: All the unhappiness of man stems from one thing only: that he is incapable of staying quietly in his room"

(from “The Invention of Solitude” by Paul Auster)


set photo (click to enlarge)

Solitude is an audio visual music theatre collaboration by Arnoud Noordegraaf and Robert van Heumen, where the audience is let into the mind of a protagonist trying to write. A journey that explores the remotest corners of the soul.

Wearing headphones and separated from the other spectators by gauze projection scrims, the audience is submerged in an isolated, audio visual decor. The smallest detail in everyday sounds and images is given a pressing importance, as we follow the story of an Auster-like character who locked himself in an abandoned building trying to write a novel, but perhaps really just running away from his own past. Solitude dives into his mind and tries to surround it, in an illusive, hallucinative and often rollercoaster-like mind bending experience.


performance photo © Pieter Kers

Solitude was inspired on Paul Auster's novel The Invention of Solitude. The performance uses a layered narrative structure similar to Auster's novel; like the Russian petroushka dolls every narrative is linked to the next. The story lines resound in a mutual harmony—there's a clear sense of some unoutspoken truth connecting all these micro stories—sometimes chaotic and disturbing, but often very recognisable. Voice competing with voice, character with character, Solitude is and audio visual narrative that allows every spectator to weave in their own story.


video excerpt in the media section




Robert van Heumen & Arnoud Noordegraaf


video, scenography

Arnoud Noordegraaf


electronic composition

Robert van Heumen



Luuk Vierhout



Hester Jolink



Willem Kuyvenhoven



Han Buhrs



Roland Spekle (Barooni) and November Music


thanks to


VSB fonds

Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst

Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst

433 fm Silent Disco

Holland Equipment

Singel Film


performance history

try outs: aug. 2005, festival Boulevard, den Bosch

premiere: 16 nov. 2005, Novembermusic, Gent

26-27 Mei 2006: Festival aan de Werf, Utrecht

18 Juni 2006: de Effenaar, Eindhoven

29 sep. 2006: Kortrijk, B

21-22 oct 2006 Aarhus, DK

24 oct 2006 Theater aan het Vrijthof, Maastricht

7 Apr. 2007 Korzo, Den Haag

11 Oct 2007 theater Kikker, Utrecht

18 - 21 Mrt 2009 Frascati, Amsterdam


performance photo © Pieter Kers