EXERCISE #1

“Unfold a street map of London, place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favor: film, photography, manuscript, tape… be alert to happenstance of metaphors, watch for visual rhymes, coincidences, family resemblances, the changing moods of the street, complete the circle, and the record ends…”

(Robert MacFarlane – Psychogeography: A Beginner’s Guide)

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THE PRACTICE OF EVERYDAY LIFE

“To walk is to lack a place. It is the indefinite process of being absent and in search of a proper. The moving about that the city mutliplies and concentrates makes the city itself an immense social experience of lacking a place — an experience that is, to be sure, broken up into countless tiny deportations (displacements and walks), compensated for by the relationships and intersections of these exoduses that intertwine and create an urban fabric, and placed under the sign of what ought to be, ultimately, the place but is only a name, the City…a universe of rented spaces haunted by a nowhere or by dreamed-of places.” 

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

A FIELD GUIDE

The Art of Walking

I recently discovered this excellent book edited by David Evans. The book is a survey of walking in contemporary art practice and aims to draw attention to some of the different walking methods adopted by artists. What I found to be particularly interesting is that a number of the artists were commissioned to make work for the book and that the artists themselves were actively involved in its design. This makes for an interesting, enjoyable and unpredictable read.

The book is well illustrated with lots of photographs and features the work from some of todays leading artists such as Melanie Manchot, Sophy Rickett and Simon Pope. I was particularly excited to find a selection of photographs from Keith Arnatt’s wonderful series Walking the Dog.

PERAMBULATION

RambleI grew up in Birmingham which is a grey, industrial city in the centre of England. As a child, me and my family would escape the city by heading out into the countryside in search of tranquility. The quintessentially English activity of rambling is something I have continued to enjoy as an adult. It gives me time to put things in perspective and to be alone with nature.

I came across a book of 30 walks in sussex. Living in Brighton I was immediately attracted to the idea of having a place I could walk to and make work within easy reach of where I live. So I set out to walk the 30 walks and try to capture my experiences whilst following the endless paths and bridleways that mark the Sussex landscape.

A LONG WALK

A walk across england As well as walking literature I will be posting photographic books from both photographers and artists. This book was highly influential to me when I was first studying photography back in 2000. Not only was Richard Long the first walking artist I was exposed to but he was also the first person I found that combined photography and walking.

On the back of the book Long writes:

I went down to the sea to start
A walk across England as art.
Along lanes past flowers
In sunshine and showers
Carrying a stone each day close to my heart.

Long was invited to make a piece that would appeal to adults and children alike, drawing attention to the simplicity and wonder of walking. The viewer is taken on a visual journey from one side of England to the other and shown not only the paths and landscape that Long traverses but also his own subjective presence within the images. Every now and then I like to get the book down off of my shelf to remind me of the excitement of simply walking and looking.