Sheppard’s audio work Dawn Chorus/Evensong interrupts the denaturalized urban landscape with music derived from birds. The composition is played outdoors over multiple speakers, which produce an immersive sound from dawn until dusk. Working with a composer, Sheppard has taken spectograms of birdsongs on Lake Ontario. These images were subsequently translated onto a musical staff, and the graphic notation was then played by musicians. This sonic translation harmonizes with the urban soundscape—the sounds of streetcars, cathedral bells, cars, people, as well as local bird songs.
Co-commissioned and co-presented by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Biennial of Art,
and made possible with the generous support of the RBC Emerging Canadian Artist Program.
Lou Sheppard (born and lives in unceded Mi’Kmaq territory, Canada) works in interdisciplinary audio, performance and installation. His work pays queer attention to systems of meaning-making and how they construct and order our bodies and environments. His research and phenomenological navigations are presented as scores, often performed with other artists and citizen performers, which notate how these systems mediate our experiences and ask how we might experience differently.
Toronto Sculpture Garden
In 1981, a very small City of Toronto park (80 by 100 feet) was created off King Street for temporary public art. Sitting directly opposite St. James Cathedral, the park falls within the ten-block grid of what was the Old Town of York, founded in 1793. The site is the previous home of Oak Hall, a four-story commercial building unique for its wide glass windows and cast-iron Edwardian front; it was razed to create a parking lot in 1938. Like much early colonial planning in Canada, the grid denaturalized the land, cutting through and covering over natural boundaries, including many waterways that emptied into Lake Ontario. One of these lost rivers ran less than fifty feet west of the Garden.
115 King St E.