Anna Martynenko


as a part of "Waterfront" project

There are many rivers and beautiful embankments in St. Petersburg, and majority of guests and local residents like to walk there. However, the walk is not very pleasant because of the noise from the traffic: it is very difficult to hear natural water sounds particularly splashing and it is difficult to hold a conversation. Many locals avoid routes through the noisy embankments and go there only at night. Being there during the day is often stressful for a person.

"Waterphone" is a special device, created for hearing the splash of water on the noisy city embankments. There is a special cone near the water, which amplifies the sound of the waves, and a pipe, which brings sound of water up to your ear. This is done so you can hear it and feel like on the river bank.

The object is made of steel and consists of two parts: a rigid structure (frame), which is attached to the parapet and Waterphone itself, which is a pipe with a bell, that amplify and transmit the sound. The bell is a truncated cone, beveled by a diagonal in order to take into account the change in the water level in the Neva River. The structure includes a step, so children also have the opportunity to listen to the sound of the water. The frame and the Waterphone are touching each other via rubberized clamps: it avoids squeaking and rattling so we hear only the acoustic effect: the pure sound of the waves and the hum of the pipe itself from the wind. These two sounds combine and we get an unusual "music of the water" – the infernal background gives the sound of the splash a mystical character. This sound can be heard whenever there are waves. There is no sound when the water is still or calm. Thus, Waterphone is always "in direct communication" with the water.

Waterphone was situated on the Pirogovskaya enbankment during the summer 2021.

Author: Anna Martynenko
Curator: Dmitry Pilikin
Ideologist of the project «Waterfront»: Albina Motor
Acoustic consultant: Dmitry Shubin
Production: «More Style» studio
Technologist: Alexander Balandin

Waterfront - an international interdisciplinary project implemented by the Street Art Research Institute and the Danish Cultural Institute in St. Petersburg

photos by Ilya Davidov and Anna Martynenko
video by Ilya Davidov


Link to the interview with the artist about the creation of the project

There is a portable version of Waterphone - Waterpipe. Here is the link

And there was a zine-routes for locals and all others, dedicated to sounds of the city. Here is the link