Category Archives: Artist

Interviews with artists

Blake Morris talking walking

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e-ATT_1450652233884_received_10156241458400456_2It is difficult to resist the infectiousness of Blake Morris’s enthusiasm for walking and walking art.  Originally from California, via Seattle, New York and now based in London, Blake is co-founder of Walk Exchange, an intriguing ‘think tank’ on foot in New York City.  An advocate for reading about walking as much as walking about reading, he has devised the Walk Study Training Course withWTSC
New York based artist Dillon De Give.   Take the course and you get the chance to walk, read and study walking art with others and to create your own.  When Andrew Stuck came across Blake 2 or 3 years ago, he was so intrigued with the Walk Exchange and what it had already achieved that he wanted to emulate it here in the UK.  Blake has trounced that idea by coming to London and running it here himself. 22’57” 10.8MB.

Notes from the podcast interview with: Blake_Morris

Photo credit: Christopher Wellington

What has Blake Morris been doing since our interview?

“Since my interview with Talking Walking I have completed my doctorate at the University of East London. My thesis, Walking Networks: The Development of an Artistic Medium defined walking as a specific artistic medium and offers new methodologies for critical and creative walking practices. It will be available through the British Library in 2018.

I have also started collaborating with the Living Maps Network ( http://www.livingmaps.org.uk ) and, along with Clare Qualmann, I edit ‘Lines of Desire’ for the critical cartography journal Living Maps Review ( https://livingmaps.review ). Over the summer all the members of the Walk Exchange were able to meet in New York City for the first time in a few years, and discussions are underway for WSTC 7 in Seattle, London and NYC. I am currently working on A Wander is not a Slog (2018)          ( https://awanderisnotaslog.wordpress.com ) a project in which I will undertake all 54 walks from Ways to Wander a compendium of walking instructions from members of the Walking Artists Network.”

Idit Elia Nathan talking walking

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Idit Elia Nathan was brought up in Israel in the 1960s, her memories of playing in the streets of Jerusalem either side of the Six Day War have frequently influenced her thinking and actions, on how she, her children and all of us can and might ‘play the city’.

Idit has exhibited and presented work in galleries based on documenting her seven walks through Jerusalem along with other artworks that link play and interminable conflict. Believing that playfully limiting a walk often generates creativity and unexpected encounters, she often works with fellow artist Helen Stratford as Play the City now or Never seeking ways to disrupt people’s movements through the city to reclaim some of its spaces through play.  Concurrently, she is completing a PhD titled Art of Play in Zones of Conflict – the case of Israel Palestine.

Andrew Stuck joins her on a walk around Hampstead in London not far from where Idit’s father lived during the Second World War. The route they follow was determined a by a throw of a dice. 10.5MB 22’20”

Download notes from this interview: Idit_Nathan

What has Idit Nathan been doing since our interview?

“Since July 2015 (when podcast was recorded) Idit’s walking related book Please Watch U R You Head has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions in UK and Europe. Her Walk Anywhere Anytime play die has been the focal point of several walking presentations such as Art, Language Location (2015) in Cambridge, Collisions (2016) – a Performance research festival at Central School of Speech and Drama in London as well as for Walk Exchange (2016) London and New York. Idit’s film 7 Walks in 28 Minutes has recently (2017) been screened as part of Metageography: Space – Image – Action exhibition at Pushkin House, London.

Most of Idit’s recent walking related artworks have been with Play the City Now or Never have who have since July 2015 launched their App as planned. The pair have also worked in Cambridge, launching their App Play Cambridge Now or Never! at the Junction’s Watch Out Festival in 2017. They have also been commissioned by the National Theatre in London (2016/17) to lead several Lightbulb Walks exploring the theatre’s unique building and the spaces around it and in Summer 2017 they have walked and played Yorkshire Sculplture Park to which they will return in 2018 to launch their mobile , walking and playing artwork.”

For updates on Idit’s practice visit her website on: http://www.iditnathan.org.uk/welcome.html
And for updates in Play the City Now or Never go to: http://playthecitynowornever.com/

David Watson talking walking

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David Watson is an Australian photomedia artist and writer intrigued by ‘progress’. In 2012 he completed Wild Ryde, a doctorate fuelled by the ‘findings’ of a slow, six-year walking and swimming pilgrimage across suburban Sydney:  He currently works with a collective of environmentally-concerned contemporary artists opposing new coal mining and CSG fracking in New South Wales.  He has always considered himself a street artist. First in London in the 80s when he lived in a housing cooperative in New Cross, and then in Bethnel Green. On weekends he would comb the London A-Z by bicycle with his trusty Olympus OM-1, seeking out forgotten corners, layered textures and colonial echoes.

Latterly he has been walking the streets through the suburbs of Sydney to capture memories.  DCIM100GOPROIn 2005 he determined to walk west from his home in urban Rozelle following the spine of Victoria Road, a major artery, out of the city. Over two years and 19 walks his path led inexorably to his childhood home in suburban Dundas, where his elderly, now-ailing parents had lived for 60 years, looking out to the Blue Mountains. Although less than ten miles as the crow flies, David’s serendipitous, looping route covered perhaps 100 miles of concrete, bitumen and harbour-shore. When he reached his destination, he chose to swim back, along the Parramatta river to Sydney.

This interview was recorded on a blustery day in October 2014 while on a walk through Greenwich Park, London.

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with David_Watson

Bill Aitchison talking walking

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Have you ever been tempted to take a guided walking tour?  Visiting a new city, it is often a thing to do.  Some walking guides are accredited by their local tourist bureau, but it is rather hit or miss whether what you end up going on is of any quality.  DSC_0309Performing artist Bill Aitchison, while on a residency in Dubrovnik, started studying the myriad of guided walking tours offered to the throngs of tourists attracted to its historic centre.  His interest has turned in to a performance he calls the “Tour of all tours” in which he reviews guided walking tours offered by others.  Unusual? Yes but popular too.  Our interview takes place just an hour before he begins his artistic performance, and is recorded on a walk along the busy streets in Shoreditch. 25′.51″ 12.1MB

Download items mentioned in the interview with Bill_Aitchison

What Bill has been doing since our interview:

“Recently, I’ve been getting more serious about getting lost and I’ll be leading a three-day non-stop Way-Losing tour this summer which should be fun as we will have no idea where we will stay along the route. This will really take it to the next level and might feel somewhat like being on the run. I’ve also refined some of the tools of getting lost and have a better idea now exactly why it is appealing.

I’m still exiled in China due to the British visa laws and I am now living in the former capital Nanjing. I’ve been working on an audio tour here that places Adam Smith’s 1776 treatise The Wealth of Nations onto some of the city centre’s shopping malls and this collage is proving to be suitably slippery and interesting. The pertinence of his description of a capitalist economy to a nominatively socialist one plus the insertion of instructions like, “turn left” and, “hard right” is appealing.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of work in Hong Kong too, both teaching how to make walks and also creating a new one of my own called Hyper-Heritage. This has gone into the city’s film history and sought to see how the cinematic city has shaped the actual city. It has been a great learning experience for me. I’m also working on some new concepts for walking performances that will highlight the art in everyday life, I’m keeping these under wraps for now till I can try them out in practice!”

Charlotte Spencer Projects talking walking

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Walking Stories is described as an audio walk, but it is much more than just a walk in which one wears headphones, in all it includes performance, observation, thoughtfulness, play and interaction with fellow participants and the surroundings in which you find yourself in.  Andrew Stuck caught up with Charlotte Spencer and two of the multi-disciplinary artists involved in devising and producing this extraordinary piece of immersive performance.  Walking Stories.5We met in Greenwich Park days before they put on Walking Stories, and before Andrew was able to sign up to take part himself.  The ambient noise of aircraft, helicopters, parakeets and children playing is intrusive in parts of the interview, however, it strangely echoes the way in which these artists have interwoven a soundscape of current and prerecorded sounds within Walking Stories itself. Part scripted with directional instructions, the genius of Walking Stories is the way in which it allows participants to follow their own course whilst all listening to the same soundtrack. 29’45” 13.9MB

Download items mentioned in the interview with Charlotte_Spencer_Projects

Walking Stories will be back in 2015 touring a range of different
parks in London. Keep up to date with news of dates and locations
through the website: www.charlottespencerprojects.org

Photo credits: Pari Naderi

Jennie Savage talking walking

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Going to interview someone who is intent on getting lost is likely to be an adventure, and so it was when Andrew Stuck went to meet Jennie Savage in the New Forest.  Jennie creates ambient soundscape audio walks punctuated with instructions on various routes to follow.

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Photo credit: T. Hall 2014

On the 3rd October 2014, Jennie invited people from all over the world to ” Fracture Mob“, to listen to such an audio walk and “Get lost”. 23’38” 11.1MB

The experience of taking this walk was unexpected. Meditative and surprising. There were moments when the sound track and what I was seeing seemed to make sense. It was at once disorientating and re-orientating.

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Jennie_Savage

Jess Allen talking walking

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Originally a biologist, Jess Allen gained a PhD from Aberystwyth before joining Herefordshire Council as officer on the ‘Lifescapes project’ – a landscape-scale habitat mapping and community conservation scheme. She then went on to train in contemporary dance, latterly with an MA in Dance Making and Performance from Coventry. She has since worked as a landscape officer (Worcestershire County Council), dance lecturer (Bristol), community arts facilitator (Multi-Story Water) and as an aerial performer for Blue Eyed Soul Dance CompanyFull Tilt and everyBODY Dance. She is currently doing a second PhD with a President’s Doctoral Scholarship from the University of Manchester, developing what she calls ‘tracktivism’: walking and moving in rural landscapes as an activist arts practice. She uses walking to facilitate talking and listening; creating unexpected encounters in unusual places. Her curiosity lies in how the aesthetics of a walk and intention of the walker can open a space of embodied dialogue around politics and sustainability.

10303965_10152106056427043_4756582764436750547_nIn 2012, from her then home in South Herefordshire in the heart of the rural agricultural economy, she developed a month-long walking performance “All in a Day’s Walk”, first performed in the winter of 2012 and repeated in summer 2013.

We arranged to meet on Offa’s Dyke. I walking north from Chepstow, she coming south from Herefordshire on her way to the Green Gathering, however, our rendez vous wasn’t so successful, as we found ourselves on parallel paths, and to retrace our steps. 27’38” 13MB

Download items mentioned in the interview with Jess Allen

In 2013 Jess Allen contributed to Talking Walking’s 5th anniversary 5 year walking forecastlisten here

Photo credits:  Paul Richardson and Bronwyn Preece

 

 

Sara Wookey talking walking

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Sara Wookey is a creative dancer and choreographer, who when based in Los Angeles works as a movement consultant to Metro Transit the underground public transport system, winning over discretionary metro riders to experience the city on public transport beside discovering life on foot.  Walking in LA was the means by which Sara discovered the city when she moved there in 2006.  Being a pedestrian in LA is not something that many aspire to, walking in the city, or riding public transit is for those who can’t afford a car. Sara’s work as a movement consultant has also taken her indoors to museums and galleries, where she works with museum visitors to explore collections in a more playful way, and out and about in neighbourhoods working alongside urban planners.  24’09” 11.3MB

In summer 2014, Sara was  performing at the Raven Row Gallery, in London, in a historic dance piece devised by Yvonne Rainer in 1966, likened to being a pedestrian as the performance links day to day movements.

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Sara_Wookey

Photo credit: David Kelley

Lottie Child – talking walking

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Lottie Child, a participatory performance artist who has devised “Street Training”, in which adults and young people learn how to be more playful in our streets. Through Street Training participants, young and old, learn how to let go of the social mores, testing the confines of what is considered normal behaviour in our cities and streets.  Lottie has helped the Metropolitan Police, amongst others, to have a better understanding of young people’s desire to play. 20′ 29″ 9.6MB

Download items mentioned in this interview with Lottie_Child

Susan Trangmar talking walking

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Artist and Lecturer in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, Susan Trangmar is a visual artist working in the context of landscape, place and site and in particular the evolving relationships between material formations of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’. An early training in sculpture and photography has developed into lens based practices using digital ‘moving’ and ‘still’ image, sound including the spoken word and text.

When Susan learnt that Central St Martins were going to move from their historic Charing Cross Road site to their new home in Granary Square, Kings Cross, she set out to walk her regular routes in and around Bloomsbury framing the city by its street trees. Interested in ways that the street tree acts as both focus and frame for our perception and experience of the city, she considers the tree to be a key figure in the construction of an urban imaginary through photography. She developed this photographic project  ‘A Forest of Signs’ into the photo-essay ‘A Divided Glance: A Dialogue Between the Photographic Project “ A Forest of Signs” and the Figure of the Tree in Virginia Woolf’s Writing’ published in Literary London Journal (2013).

 

 

Susan’s curiosity of the juxtaposition of trees and buildings, makes for an intricate slow therapeutic walk. Recorded on a walk from Goodge Street tube station, London early on a  Sunday morning in January 2013. 24′ 42″ 11.6MB

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview: Susan_Trangmar

What Susan has been doing since our interview

Susan has produced a short text animation film ‘Lunar Tides’ reflecting upon the impact of the changing relationship between the moon and the earth’s trajectories over time which affects the ocean tides (2014): ‘Wandering Shards’, a combined moving image and essay work addressing the foreshore of the River Thames at Greenwich in order to develop a series of reflections upon the transformative potential of ‘waste’ material (bone) associated with the site, and UNFOUND a film marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme during WW1.

She is currently researching processes of cognition in creativity and co-founder of Sensing Site a practice based research group engaging with questions around the political, material, and sensory natures of site, place, and space. https://sensingsite.blogspot.co.uk/

Photo credits: ‘A Forest of Signs’ detail (c) Susan Trangmar 2013

 

Christine Mackey talking walking

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Christine Mackey undertook an intriguing assignment for the Sideways Walking and Art Festival in Belgium in August 2012.  She carried a portable laboratory come studio to undertake a study of invasive plants along the Sideways route through semi-rural semi-suburban Flanders.  Working with two botanists she selected and catalogued a number of plants, concurrently recording her journey through video, still and sound recording instruments, to produce a multi-media installation in a barn in Turnhout.

The interview was recorded on site at Turnhout in September 2012. 16′ 06″ 7.5 MB

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview: Christine_Mackey

Photo credit: Kristaps Gulbis

Ali Pretty talking walking

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Ali Pretty describes herself as the analog partner in a collaboration that will result in a 100 mile walk that links the 8 white horses on the Wiltshire Downs to take place in August 2013.  Working with Richard White, a digital artist, together they will create an interactive exhibition including soundscapes, still and video imagery, conversations, and responses to the landscape at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes.  Ali has an internationally recognised reputation as a painter of large scale silks, creating carnival costumes and flags for exhibitions and festivals.  Through a love of long distance walking she is moving away from the large scale to create a range of silk products inspired by long distance walks.

Recorded in the garden behind Ali Pretty’s studio offices in East London in June 2013 and published in August 2013 20’47” 9.7MB

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview: Ali_Pretty

Photo credit: Mike Jonston