A Philosophy of Walking

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 (10 seconds)

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.”

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Annie-B Parson

Annie-B Parson is a choreographer based in Brooklyn most known for her work in modern dance and immersive theatre.  Similarly to de Keersmaeker, Parson approaches choreography through form but differently she is not interested in the emotional underpinnings of the movements or the dancer’s being carried away by their experiences.  She has been quoted as saying she doesn’t like modern dance for this reason, even though her dances are still classified as such.

I came across her work because I am a huge fan of St. Vincent (Annie Clark) and learned that Parson choreographed St. Vincent’s last tour as well as her collaboration with David Byrne.   I found out in this New Yorker article about her new album and her general process. What’s interesting to me is vocabulary Parson developed for St. Vincent taking into consideration that Annie Clark would be playing guitar the entire show.  Parson begins to address a question I often ponder: how do you move a band’s performance into performance art when capabilities are limited due to music demands (have to sing into mic, length of chords to amp, both hands occupied by guitar, etc)?

Richard Long

I’ve been thinking lately about the performative possibilities of walks, especially in the form of tours, as a way to heighten awareness of the seemingly mundane and uncover the true nature of space and place.  Artist Richard Long provides an interesting starting point for this.  Several of Richard Long’s works are based around his response to environments that he has walked in.  Often times, his sculptures are made from found materials taken directly from those environments or by deliberately changing the landscape.   A Line Made by Walking is one of his formative pieces beginning to answer questions of impermanence, motion, and relativity that much of his work is concerned with.  In a field near his daily commute, he walked forwards and backwards along a line until it became visible adding a performative element to his land art and veering from his usual sculptural works.  Richard Long went on to make a series of many, many more walks, which were always made according to some structure such as a geometrical plan, mileage, number of days or something else.  He wasn’t responding to historical aspect of place and the structures for the walks he created were arbitrary, creating empty rituals.  He would return to the gallery and exhibit photographs, maps, and sculptural works based on these walks, which makes me wonder who was the intended audience and if the performance was end goal or documentation.  I’m leaving this link of some criticism of his work because for me it brings up questions of productivity and purpose.  Should an artist’s career be dedicated to constantly pushing boundaries or can one hyper-focus on variations of a familiar theme?  Is there something to be gained from habitual repetition?  The article still brings me back to questions of who these works are intended for as the experience would be much different if he created a line by walking with a group of people.  The individuality of the pursuit is a very intriguing aspect.

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If you’re in Detroit, you can see his work Stone Line, which is currently exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the Contemporary wing.

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Venus Rising at Tangent Gallery

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Catch an excerpt from “The Working Perception” on March 19th at the Tangent Gallery as part of Venus Rising: All Women Art Exhibition!

Tangent Gallery/ Hastings Street Ballroom
715 E Milwaukee St Detroit, MI 48202

Schedule of Events
7pm: Doors Open

7pm-11pm Live & Body Painting demonstrations

8-8:30pm: Live performances

9-9:30pm: Fashion Show

10-10:30pm: Live Performances

25% of all the proceeds from the event will go to Alternatives for Girls , which is an organization that provides resources for homeless and high-risk girls and young women to avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation, and to make positive choices in their lives.

Performance Laboratory

Join the Performance Laboratory (Detroit) for a night of new, experimental performances!

December 4 @8pm

CMAP:  2221 Carpenter St Detroit, MI

For this edition of Performance Lab, I will be playing 8 year old James in Emilia Javanica‘s staged reading of her new play/ radio play The Little Devils.  

About The Little Devils
“The Frank family is celebrating Christmas morning in their living room when an unexpected package arrives. This short play is about holiday consumerism, religious fanaticism, and the loss of “Christ” in Christmas.”

About the Performance Laboratory
“The Performance Laboratory is an interdisciplinary performance series established in March 2011. Encouraging original works and the exploration of new ideas, The Performance Laboratory aims to facilitate impassioned dialogue around the possibilities that lie within performance. Our goal is to offer a consistent forum for ideas to be shared and developed, new artistic partnerships to be made, and a supportive and diverse community to gather. Co-curated by Carrie Morris & Emilia Javanica.”

For more information, check out the Facebook event.