It will be a “walking meeting” of sorts — a time to talk about important issues that impact on health, and to brainstorm how Croakey could be covering them better.
Meet us at 10am in the square outside the Manly Sealife aquarium to start the walk to the Spit – or just join us for a picnic at Clontarf reserve (from about 12noon-1pm).
Before we start the walk, we will hear a short talk from artist Molly Wagner about the intersections between walking and art.
We will also hear about a project she is planning with Dr Megan Williams, an academic at UTS and a Contributing Editor at Croakey, to retrace a long walk across the Blue Mountains by the Wiradjuri warrior Windradyne in the early 1800s. Williams is a descendant of the Wiradjuri people.
Molly Wagner writes:
The everyday activity of walking brings a delightful sensory, speculative, performative and critical language to art. Walking Art grew from the ‘land art’ and ‘site-specific’ art of the 1960’s and continues to grow in popularity among artists and audiences today.
Artists use walking as a way to express our complex interactions in the world. There are many types of Walking Art projects from the solitary artist walking in remote areas to Public Art Walks and Guided tours in cities; there are walks that explore the physical landscape and sensory experiences and walks that emphasise the dreams and thoughts elicited by walking.
Many artists think of their walks as their art works and make drawings, photographs, videos, paintings and/or sculptural objects inspired by the walk that are exhibited in an art gallery. There are artists who devise walks and leave maps or instructions for the viewer to follow. Walking Art is wonderfully multidisciplinary and open in its form and expression.
Several inspiring international artists who use walking to make their works are Richard Long, Francis Alÿs and partners Janet Cardiff and George Buress Miller. Long’s A Straight Hundred Mile Walk in Australia (1977) and Southern Gravity (2011) and Alÿs’ Railings (2004) are part of the John Kaldor collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Cardiff and Miller created The City of Forking Paths, for the 19th Sydney Biennale in 2014.
Richard Long is noted for his extended walks in remote areas using geometric shapes to plan and express his walking experiences. A Straight Hundred Mile Walk in Australia was made outside Broken Hill over several days of walking a straight line from his campsite and back again for one hundred miles.
Long drew a straight line in the dust along his route and photographed this drawing. ‘Southern Gravity’ is a large wall drawing, (460 x 1080 cm) made in the gallery using squares and mud. He energetically applied the mud over the squares so it splashed across the surface as water splashes over rocks.
He said of this work: “From thunder and summer rains on the high South African veld to a day’s work in Sydney. A terracotta clay and water work made with a fast hand. I make one part of the image, and the forces of nature make the rest…I walk away with bats flying high over the Domain.”
Different ways of thinking about walking
Francis Alÿs creates ‘Walking Interventions’ in cities around the world that are then shown as videos in art galleries. In ‘Railings’ (6:30 minutes) Alÿs walks the streets of London dragging a stick across metal railings. The sound is the rhythmic, percussive beat of the stick hitting metal and his footsteps. ‘Railings’, as many of his walking projects, has a whimsical and playful quality that offers different ways of thinking about how we live and walk in the city.
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller create audio and video walks that guide the participant with headphones, maps and, at times, a digital device, through a specific area. The walks are “…relayed in…Cardiff’s quasi-narrative style…(and are) complex sensory investigations of location, time, sound, and physicality, interweaving stream-of-consciousness observations with fact and fiction…”
Cardiff describes these walks as drawings and sculpture.
‘The City of Forking Paths’ (64 minutes) navigates a route from Customs House to Circular Quay and then into the historical area of the Rocks in Sydney. As the participant walks, they follow the recorded audio and video on the screen.
My recent walking art projects focus on walking in the city, as it is where I live and walk. I am fascinated by how we navigate crowded footpaths, negotiate car-friendly streets and find alternative paths and places to walk. I use a variety of media to evoke the complexity of relationships that are intrinsic to being a pedestrian in the urban environment.
Three of these projects, Walking in Newtown, N-S-E-W, and Intersection Waltz feature busy street intersections. Using video I highlight the poetic gestures we unconsciously make as we rush across busy streets.
My many walks in Hyde Park inspired A Walk in the Park that includes drawings of my walks, drawings made by friends, and photographs. The series of drawings and photographs were exhibited as a Walk in an Exhibition at the UNSW gallery in 2016.
I am currently working with Dr Megan Williams to devise a Public Art and Public Health walk called Windradyne’s Walk. This is a collaborative, participatory and intercultural walking project for peace and reconciliation, spiritual and aesthetic connection to Country and the improved health and well-being walking offers to everyone.
We are in the early stages of developing Windradyne’s Walk and look forward to an ongoing adventure as it grows from a dream into a reality. Join us at the inaugural #CroakeyGo walk in Sydney this Saturday, and we can tell you more about our plans for Windradyne’s Walk.
• Molly Wagner recently discovered Walking Art and is intrigued by the artistic, sensory, speculative and critical potential the everyday activity of walking brings to art. She uses a variety of media: drawing, photo-media and painting, to evoke the complex interactions and relationships that are intrinsic to walking. Read more here.
• Read more about #CroakeyGo from Dr Ruth Armstrong.
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