Or an introduction to Walkscapes.
The word walkscapes makes us think about the relationship between walk and landscape reunited in one concept. Walkscape refers to the ability to use your own walk as a tool to create a space or modify it.
How you create space:
it’s more like create whole new categories in which those places can be inserted according to certain features that you decide to stress. Categories that didn’t existed before you make them up.
You can create a route by putting together places that fit a certain criteria. If you decide to visit places that start with an “E” that’d be a new category: the E places.
The same happen if you mark on a map or make stops at places where you can get a coffee for 8 cents, that’d be like the poor artist-friendly coffee shops category.
Very, very very short history of walkscapes:
In 1921, the Dada group (which we all vanitians like and admire) took a walk through the most banal places in Paris. This became an anti-art piece, result of a new way to think and redeem places by walking through them, in other words they were the first ones who created a space as an anti-art piece that mocks the solemnity of art and it’s materiality. This walk was an ephemeral action that didn’t leave any trace on the landscape, the symbolical meaning relies most on the walk, and the places chosen.
Surrealists as well would take walks through marginal places, but their interest relied more on the subconscient emotions created by the landscape. The walking and the landscape were only tools. Surrealists have been criticized for the stress they put on the subconscious…( which is very intriguing and slightly disturbing IMHO..)
The situationist group is maybe the first one who brings something more from the walks. They make maps of the
conscient emotions that geography evokes on the walker, creating maps with them: The Psycogeographic Guide for Paris, and Naked city.
How you modify spaces through walking:
Even when the groups mentioned above (Dada, surealists and situationists) created space (and maps) they didn’t leave no trace of their walking on the landscapes. On the other side Richard Long does leave a mark of him self while walking. He uses his body as a tool to mark how the wind, temperature and sound changed while he was walking. He translates the subjective perceptions into the space.
By the other hand Robert Smith takes materials from his walks and show them out of context in the galleries, for him walking is a tool to extract aesthetic experiences from landscape.
And this is how you create space, or modify them by walking. Walkscapes 🙂