The Ghost Variations – Featured Spaces 3

This week’s post features the two spaces that are part of Knox College. Both are quiet spaces – the Chapel and the inner courtyard. The college also has a library of its own, but we opted not to use it as a space on the walk, as it would have been too many quiet locations in one area.

Knox college is a theological college, affiliated with the Presbyterian church. It’s for this reason that the building has its own chapel, and, as with any chapel, one expects certain codes of conduct within the space. Similar to the library spaces, one can become acutely aware the moment one steps into the space of a difference in expectation – as if the stillness of the air itself works to slow and pacify your body, so that it blends with the calmer pace and keeps the space undisturbed. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we were surprised with our encounters with the chapel, as, for two of three recordings, a student was discovered playing piano in the space. Music is one of the few forms of sound that is allowed to permeate the space with any level of volume, and it dominates the recording, drowning out footsteps and other minor shuffling. We used the beautiful music within a number of our tracks, ghosting in the unwitting student’s impromptu performance. Listeners may also recognize that we ghosted in the student who apologizes early in the recording into the Hart House space.

Not too far from the chapel, one can find Knox College’s inner courtyard. The garden sanctuary, protected by stone walls, is even more peaceful than the green space outside the UC building. One can still hear the distant sounds of cars and traffic, but they barely hinder one’s ability to hear birds in the garden. It is one of the quietest tracks we recorded (and still it couldn’t qualify as silence). One can hear the recorder walking around the garden over twigs, the gentle opening and closing of the outside doors, as well as the rustling of trees in the wind. In Variation 2, various bangs and the sound of the doors from the very same track are repeated, to give the space a noisier feel. The sound of birds is repeated, playing again with the sense of deja vu. It is also doubled at one point, cloning the ghostly creatures in the space. The only external sound incorporated in Variation 2 is the double-sneeze we adopted to signal the end of a track.

Knox Chapel – Variation 1

Knox Garden – Variation 1

Knox Garden – Variation 2


Knox College