Reid Hall: The Sound Vault

During this strange period, Reid Hall has been emptier than ever. Listen to the staff at Columbia Global Centers | Paris as they reflect on the changing landscape, and world, of Reid Hall.


This pandemic has poignantly revealed paradoxes in work ethics, inequalities in social relations, issues in family dynamics, and dissonances in cultural practices. Would that this time be one of reckoning and renewal, perhaps it wouldn’t have been for not.


Reid Hall is a family. Even though we’re still in lockdown, I take tremendous pleasure and joy coming to the office every day because I know that it’s, you know, my home away from home, a second home, and a second family, and that’s been truly enjoyable.


Pour la première fois en cent-quarante ans, l’arbre de Judée de Reid Hall a explosé de ses bourgeons fuschias sans nos yeux émerveillés pour l’admirer.


The lockdown gave my partner and I a lot of time to think and to spend a lot of time together. And we’ve decided to grow our family by adding a little puppy.


Since we can’t really go out to lunch anymore, this is the first time in years that I have some tickets restos left at the end of the month.


The confinement as practiced in France put the difference between my virtual universe and my physical reality into stark contrast. Through my work online I had daily contact across the globe; in the real world I wasn’t allowed to venture further than a one kilometer radius around my home, and even that for no longer than an hour a day.


My family has started doing regular “family chats” on Google Meet to stay in touch and see each other. It’s something we’ve always had the technology to do, but just never thought of until now.


For someone who’s always lived in the present, never thought about the past, swept unpleasant memories under the rug, never planned for the future, events from the past are popping up in my mind, memories of people coming out of the blue, and what scares me the most, unpleasant memories are seeping out of a hidden compartment. As for the future, I still wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.


L’année 2020 a rappelé au monde entier que rien n’était plus important que la santé. Pour préserver le bien de chacun, nous avons dû changer notre façon de vivre en mettant des gestes barrières entre nous et donc de s’éloigner physiquement. Et le fameux oxymore vient d’apparaître: la distanciation sociale. Or nous ne sommes pas séparés socialement, au contraire, nous nous sommes connectés plus que jamais. Nous essayons de combler le manque de contact physique par le contact social, que ce soit sur le plan professionnel ou personnel, de nombreux outils de communication ont émergé pour pouvoir étudier à distance, faire du télétravail, et rester connectés par le billet des réseaux sociaux. C’est notre nouvelle façon de vivre.


During confinement I spent a lot of time finally exploring my neighborhood in Abbesses. I even stumbled upon an abandoned film set set during World War II. It felt like I had traveled back in time during a period when no one could travel.


Youki, the resident Reid Hall cat, has never wanted anything to do with me before this lockdown, but now she’s decided that we’re best friends.


Who will explain the masks, the silence, the empty garden and lonely wanderers to Youki?


Reid Hall has never been so empty for so long; even during the World Wars it welcomed soldiers and French students. Like Sleeping Beauty, it now lays dormant. With her, we wait for a magic wand to rekindle the voices, the sounds, the melodies.