Sometimes proposals and plans for projects can be almost as satisfying as their actual achievement. It is tempting to treat them as completed examples of Conceptual Art.
These will be installed as a group hanging in the woods – August 2015.
“Aristotle … established his own school in a gymnasium known as the Lyceum. He built a substantial library and gathered around him a group of brilliant research students, called “peripatetics” from the name of the cloister ( peripatos) in which they walked and held their discussions.”
Yellow Bird is a place for walking, whether quietly and alone, or in conversation. I have come to see walking as an aesthetic practice.
Here are some preliminary notes on the subject.
- Walking meditation practices: http://www.wildmind.org/walking/overview
- Thoreau “Walking”[1851-62] see http://www.ecotopia.org/ehof/thoreau/walking.html
- Nietzsche, “A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Spirit. Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value.”
- Richard Long (Land artist)“Art as a formal and holistic description of the real space and experience of landscape and its most elemental materials.Nature has always been recorded by artists, from pre-historic cave paintings to 20th century landscape photography. I too wanted to make nature the subject of my work, but in new ways. I started working outside using natural materials like grass and water, and this evolved into the idea of making a sculpture by walking.Walking itself has a cultural history, from Pilgrims to the wandering Japanese poets, the English Romantics and contemporary long-distance walkers.My first work made by walking, in 1967, was a straight line in a grass field, which was also my own path, going ‘nowhere’. In the subsequent early map works, recording very simple but precise walks on Exmoor and Dartmoor, my intention was to make a new art which was also a new way of walking: walking as art. Each walk followed my own unique, formal route, for an original reason, which was different from other categories of walking, like travelling. Each walk, though not by definition conceptual, realised a particular idea. Thus walking – as art – provided an ideal means for me to explore relationships between time, distance, geography and measurement. These walks are recorded or described in my work in three ways: in maps, photographs or text works, using whichever form is the most appropriate for each different idea. All these forms feed the imagination, they are the distillation of experience.Walking also enabled me to extend the boundaries of sculpture, which now had the potential to be de-constructed in the space and time of walking long distances. Sculpture could now be about place as well as material and form.”From his website http://www.richardlong.org/
- Hamish Fulton – ‘If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art’Since the early 1970s Hamish Fulton (born 1946) has been labelled as a sculptor, photographer, Conceptual artist and Land artist. Fulton, however, characterizes himself as a ‘walking artist’.Fulton first came to prominence in the late 1960s as one of a number of artists – including Richard Long and Gilbert & George – who were exploring new forms of sculpture and landscape art. A central characteristic of their practice was a direct physical engagement with landscape. Fulton’s time as a student at St Martin’s College of Art in London (1966-68) and his journeys in South Dakota and Montana in 1969, encouraged him to think that art could be ‘how you view life’, and not tied necessarily to the production of objects. He began to make short walks, and then to make photographic works about the experience of walking.At this time, and subsequently, his practice was influenced by an unusually broad set of interests including the subject of the environment and the culture of American Indians. In 1973, having walked 1,022 miles in 47 days from Duncansby Head (near John O’Groats) to Lands End, Fulton decided to ‘only make art resulting from the experience of individual walks.’ Since then the act of walking has remained central to Fulton’s practice. He has stated ‘If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art’ and has summed up this way of thinking in the simple statement of intent: ‘no walk, no work’. Although only Fulton experiences the walk itself, the texts and photographs he presents in exhibitions and books allow us to engage with his experience.Hamish Fulton’s Home PageExhibition: Tate Britain / Hamish Fulton / Walking Journey (2002)
Exhibition: SAAG / Two River Walks (2000)
Video: Tate Britian
- “William Wordsworth Walking: Art, Work, Leisure, and a Curious Form of Consumption”, by Malcolm HaywardWilliam Wordsworth spent a good portion of his life on foot, walking. Consider a sequence of Dorothy’s journal entries:
Monday the 14th, “Wm & Mary walked to Ambleside in the morning to buy mousetraps” (about 5 miles round trip)
Tuesday the 15th, “Wm & I walked to Rydale for letters” (about 3 miles round trip)
Wednesday the 16th, “After dinner Wm & I walked twice up to the Swan & back again” (3 miles), met Miss Simpson and walked with her to the Oliffs and then back to her house (another 3 miles)
- Conference: ‘Walking as knowing as making: a peripatetic investigation of place’ (2005). Looks really good.
- Jeff Franks in Psychology or Gary White in the Chaplain’s
Office are actually experienced at leading walking meditation.
I want to respond to Jencks’ Garden of Cosmic Speculation (Dumfries) with something of my own.
Arranged in sweeping curves over the fields
I am planning to make large field spirals out of stone.