Interruption – A Walking Invitation

In his ‘Interruption…’ to Ways to Wander, Carl Lavery approaches the walking score ‘in terms of the creative process of ruination’, each step erasing that which came before. Rather than focusing on walking as ruination, I suggest we consider it in terms of regeneration, each walk generating the potential for new walks. Walking as invitation.

After all, as Pere Ubu reminds us,

We shall not have succeeded in demolishing everything unless we demolish the ruins as well. But the only way I can see of doing that is to use them to put up a lot of fine, well-designed buildings.

Carl Lavery

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Brett and I have created artistic walks together since the beginning of my practice.

Walking with Brett is FUNdamental.


Brett:

I don’t normally give communication through my phone priority over the world in front of me. During our walk I found my attention split between several different incoming digital information streams. Text and images being continuously created by both of us, each dominant for brief periods. But all of them continuously dominant over the physical space around me. Because the overall experience was playful, it didn’t bother me the way it normally would to have my attention so thoroughly dominated by a digital filter. There was a sense that this was an event that included both realms, and it was active and fun, so it was okay to give it my full focus. As a generally reluctant participant in public phone use, it felt absurd and a little transgressive to stay so absorbed. It was sort of a, “so this is how the other half lives” moment for me. It was also interesting to see how time of day affected the live aesthetic so much, turning all your photos into dark glowing images, while mine had a less unified feel, though the lighting was nice and even because of how overcast it was. It was fun to play a new game (to me) with a friend.

Townley and Bradby
Brett Van Aalsburg

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I was fortunate to be joined on my walk by David Upton, who has written some reflections on his blog: A Venture into Mythogeography.

A few days after David and I completed our walk, Elia Cervera Bravo went to Gubbio Cemetery in response. She sent me a few ‘random and rambling’ thoughts:

How relevant is it who owns the idea and/or the walk? If it doesn’t “belong” to us, how does it affect the walk (in terms of experience, reflections, gallery reception…)?

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In my opinion, it’s a global season of walks. It seems like ‘walking art’ is everywhere, or maybe, I have just been reading too much on the same subject.

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I just finished writing an article on walking art as a critical tool, though I’m not sure I believe what I wrote. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is including it in their regular programming–with its accompanying $25 admission.

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After seeing the cemetery’s flower stands I wanted to bring some home to my partner, but I thought that flowers for the dead might not like the company of the living.

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How will the cemetery of the XXII century look?

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Romany Reagan
David Upton
Elia Cervera Bravo

3. Ranulph Glanville A Wander is a Metaphor for Design.jpg

A wander is not a slog, it is ‘a metaphor for design’. It is an improvisation dictated by sets of constraints and filled with impromptu choices. It is a game we play in the landscape.

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While headed toward Connaught Water I changed my mind and walked ‘off the path through some trees’ with ‘no idea where [I was] going.’
The starting and ending points (presumably home), the terrain and weather, the temperaments and desires of the walker or walkers, the dynamics of actors in the landscape (both human and non-human), all play a part.

Under the Canopy (Epping Forest)
From moss to mud to sodden leaves, I was touching and feeling the ground beneath my feet.

Impromptu choices dictated by the terrain: I walked on damp leaves rather than muddy paths; away from the humming sound of traffic; under the remains of the forest canopy to avoid being drenched on a rainy day…

A walk perhaps more suited to the summer, but those are the constraints of design.

Hitachi Shelter
Sometimes the mythical spot, where it’s ‘peaceful, birds sing, the grass is inviting’, never materialises. Instead you huddle under a Hitachi, grateful for a reprieve from the rain.

On a dry, sunny afternoon there would have been many places to ‘sit down, get out [my] picnic, eat and drink’, but the trees were busy drinking and the ground was drenched. I had to settle for my lunch on the train ride home.

I did eventually ‘arrive’ at Connaught Water, though certainly not by design.

It wasn’t ‘[w]onderful’, but it was the spot. Hadn’t I intended to get there all along?

Ranulph Granville

 

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Vanessa,

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.

 

 

 

 

Vanessa,

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.

Blake,

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.

 

 

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Vanessa,

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.

Blake,

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.

https://thedemolitionproject.com
https://www.instagram.com/vanessabaish