I have been working with squares, specifically taped squares, since this summer and recently happened upon Declared Void (2005) by Carey Young, showing once again the extraordinary possibility in the form. Here, Young creates spatial divisions to arrive at the complexities of positioning in public space. The instructions transform the sectioned off space from anyplace, anywhere gallery to political zone (almost using the idea of the “white cube” against the gallery itself). It also provides a decision point of interaction for the viewer.
A large group of people (thirty to eighty-four) walk from stage right to stage left, stopping to stand or sit according to a written score, demonstrating another way to think about walking and celebration of pedestrian movement. Jill Johnston wrote of the 1968 version of the piece that she was impressed with the assortment of bodies. “The fat, the skinny, the medium, the slouched and slumped, the straight and tall, the bowlegged and knock-kneed, the awkward, the elegant, the coarse, the delicate, the pregnant, the virginal, the you name it, by implication every postural possibility in the postural spectrum, that’s you and me in all our ordinary everyday who cares postural splendor.”
A few ideas from the first chapters of A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros
“Because the city-dweller tends spontaneously to interpret such activity [walking] in terms of deprivation, whereas the walker considers it a liberation to be disentangled from the web of exchange, no longer reduced to a junction in the network of redistributing information, images and goods; to see that these things have only the reality and importance you give them.”
Walking liberates you from time and space.
“…by walking you are not going to meet yourself. By walking, you escape from the very idea of identity, the temptation to be someone, to have a name and a history.”
As Far As I Could Get is a series of photographs made by John Divola in 1996/97. He pushed a self-timer button on his camera and ran as fast as he could to get away from it. The exposure time was 10 seconds. This project offers a different take on the role of walking/ running within an artistic practice and also speaks to the limits of time when it comes to realization of a complete idea. You can only get as far as you can get. It reminds me of a Steven Wright quote: “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”
I went hiking his weekend and found myself making up stories about the people I passed on the trail based on if and how they said hello to me. When I hike solo, I sometimes feel extra vigilant about having a read on my surroundings, dividing people I pass into (1) those who might help me if I was in trouble and later become my friend and (2) those that wouldn’t. I wonder how accurate I really am about this given I have so little information to go off of, which reminded me of Miranda July’s story of a silent retreat she went on.
In the video, she talks about how she felt extreme attraction to a woman on the retreat. July constructed a story and fantasized mind about this woman’s likeness having never made eye contact, heard her voice, or interacted with her aside from sitting behind her. July was proven entirely off base when the limitations of the retreat were revoked and the woman returned to her everyday being. Lena Dunham, who was giving the interview, sums up July’s experience: “If you want it badly enough, you can mistake anyone for someone you could love.”
The unofficially official Towson MFA Youtube channel is live AND we posted our first video! We had all hands on deck for a Jesse-led exercise moving through “a day at the office”.
A pensive shot for a pensive day thinking about how to guide an audience through a performative experience using Towson’s campus as a backdrop. What I’m wondering is how to give this seemingly boring, unsexy location new life by looking at its past lives and navigating the present. I have this bad habit of often overlooking my immediate surroundings in favor of the flashy, fresh, new thing (see Grass is Greener Syndrome). What is it like to stay put for a while and really take in what’s going on here?
The model on the table is a rough construction of one of the most intriguing sites on campus (to me) re-imagined as a battlefield processional complete with rope bridge. In the photo, I’m probably explaining one of the my many ideas for sectioning off space giving the audience a choice between different paths to take.
The business of mapping paths begins! I’ve already downloaded the Map My Run app and have brushed up on my navigational skills through Staying Found, the complete compass and map handbook by June Fleming.
Navigational tips? Leave them in the comments!