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Silent soundwalk, Thurn & Taxis, Brussels, June 2011

As part of a trip to Brussels in June 2011 to work at OKNO, I led a workshop on soundwalking. Rather than getting the participants to make some recordings and edit these together to produce a pre-recorded soundwalk, I instead led the group on a 45 minute ‘silent’ soundwalk. The blurb from OKNO’s website:


Starting at OKNO, we headed north along the Brussels–Charleroi Canal toward an edgeland called Thurn & Taxis, which has a fascinating history.

OKNO, the starting point of the walk

Brussels–Charleroi Canal

Once we reached Thurn & Taxis, we walked along the old railway line that has sat abandoned for a couple of decades. The ecology of the site is now developing from open grassland to woodland, and this made an interesting sound transition from the busy road we walked along to get to Thurn & Taxis.

Along the old railway line, Thurn & Taxis

Abandoned signal box, Thurn & Taxis

The site is due to be redeveloped in late 2011 with a mixture of offices, shops and apartments. From what I could tell from some promotional architectural models, the area will be stripped of most of the existing vegetation and replaced with lawns and ornamental trees. We spent some time discussing the walk, then headed back to okno to produce a database, led by Annemie Maes and Danielle Roberts, of some of the plant species recorded at the site.

Some photographs of the walk and thoughts from a few of the participants, as well as the plant database entries, can be found here.

Discussing the walk