What if we each did our own version of the walk in the morning and then send each other our route and a list of textures. That way we could each explore the exercise on our own and in each other’s footsteps.
I had a great walk this morning exploring textures. Bruce Naumann’s Body Pressure came to mind as I moved through the walk, from feeling the ground beneath my feet to trying to engage with a more full body tactile experience. Despite the cold, windy climate I rolled myself down side railings and explored the feeling of them across my whole body.
I was struck by how much clothing I was wearing and how it really impedes my experience of feeling the world around me. When attending the University of California Santa Cruz I had the (chosen) experience of not wearing shoes for four years. It completely changed the way I walked and the way I felt the Earth beneath my feet. It was a much more connected walking experience.
I felt compelled when I got home to feel the textures of my room on my whole body and see what my skin had been missing.
while i walked, i began thinking about light and sound, in part because there were such strong shadows
as i was leaving my building.
it wasn’t until i started making video that i settled into the margins//creases [ . . . ] and started thinking about how my body (container) moving through space experiences the surroundings through meeting of material and light and sound.
the surface under my feet makes soft shoes necessary. it is uneven. there are frictions where nature meets constructed. the trees are winning.
i am doing a necessary thing.
while i walk, a friend messaged me about an article i sent him (touch of madness in pacific standard magazine). we have a brief exchange between mexico and new york. this added texture expands space like the sounds of birds expands the space i am in.
i am troubled by pathologising difference. i am troubled in sleep. i am sleepwalking, no, the rough surface of the ground reminds me that i am here.
i think being separate from the language makes me aware of listening and hearing. some vendors in the market recognize me. one woman switches to english to explain the origin of their grain mill, then back to spanish for the transaction of buying bread.
it is warm. i take off my scarf. i switch the bags to my right shoulder. my left jaw aches in the night. anxiety or strain or infection. i get lost.
there are new plants, new birds. i come back to the route by a new path.
i return home on the shady side of the street. i had gone out on the sunny side.
One of the things that I really noticed was how unaware of the tactility of things I was when I was focused on my phone and filming. Though I could imagine the textures, I was interacting with them through the mediation of the telephone. In a lot of ways it relates to what I was thinking about yesterday in terms of shoes and clothing… we have all these different technologies (clothes counting as such) that mediate our directly sensed experience. This is not a bad thing necessarily, as you mentioned and your video demonstrates being barefoot would not be great for health and safety. I wonder though if we give ourselves enough time with the sensuousness of bare skin. Newborn babies and the importance of skin time comes to mind.
I also thought about babies and skin/experience of air, in part because the friend I heard from yesterday has a young daughter, and we had this conversation when I saw him in California this summer.
Yes, mediation of technology. A paradox that it allows documentation but creates distance. I did less of this today.
Your attention to hard vs. soft ground reminded me that the surfaces/materials here are hard and cold (stone/metal/terra-cotta) and that even though there are many trees, there is little grass or spongy ground. No moss. It is dry, and in the morning, very cold. The range of temperature is 35 – 75farenheit, very broad. It is usually bright too—sometimes there is an early mist outside of the city, but not in it.
I love the spongy, squelchy, damp mists of England—they seem almost human, where this feels unyielding. I wonder if the stone/tile will be cooler in hot summer.
I wore tighter clothes, so I would be more aware of them//my body and skin. I also walked by the women’s gym Curves, and felt more visible on this walk. To feel myself in the landscape means to feel visible? Or was this also because I was mostly alone? Or because I was out with friends yesterday, and we talked about women’s discomfort with embodied in public, and how that may be perceived. So the texture of the walk had the interior/exterior quality again too.
My neighbor said hello as I arrived home. Hola. Buenas días. I said Buen Día.
And [sit] in front of the space heater to write this.