Category Archives: Artist

Interviews with artists

Sharon Thompson talking walking

Excerpt from ‘Forever Young’

Australian Sharon Thompson trained as a classical singer and contemporary vocalist, worked in a variety of musical contexts, in addition to performing and devising, she coaches solo artists for TV and Music Theatre and the music industry. Passionate about the natural environment, she’s been known to turn her musical skills to assisting with environmental campaigns.

Sharon’s private and professional walking practice is diverse and represents a learning journey in site-responsive listening and making. Interviewed in central London, she had just finished a run of Forever Young at the Traverse in Edinburgh, working with Australian theatre collective one step at a time like this.16’35” 7.8MB

‘Dirt Song’ performed in a Melbourne storm drain

Download notes of items mentioned in the Interview with Sharon_Thompson

Julian Rickert talking walking

Australian, Julian Rickert is a founder member of internationally acclaimed theatre group ‘one step at a time like this’, who was a late starter in theatre, only going to drama college at age thirty. ‘en route’ was a site responsive immersive theatre production first created in the laneways of Melbourne that took the theatre company around the globe, including a visit to London as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012.

Taking to the streets, they have created performances for audiences of one at a time, in which you as the audience member engage both imaginatively and directly with the city, passers-by, narrative and your own pace within these. They have devised cinematic experiences on foot using audio, and performances that include overlaying an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure on Chicago, Nashville and Melbourne, in which they use a technique they call “follow film”.

Andrew Stuck, producer of Talking Walking, caught up with Julian on a visit to Bermondsey in London in 2015. 24’20” 11.4MB

Download notes from the podcast interview with Julian_Rickert

What Julian at one step at a time like this has done since our interview

“Since this interview we have created a number of audience walking works. In September 2017 ‘one step at a time like this’ created Immergence, in which audience intersected with local young people as they journeyed through Torquay, UK.

Through audio and live encounters audience become privy to the voices and perspectives of these local young people as they reflect on their lives and living in a formerly grand tourist destination. Immergence was part of an extended journey-based project by Claire Doherty and Situations, which saw audience travel across three towns and a bay to experience 9 artworks responding to nature-writer Philip Hoare’s reflections about the area.

We have also been developing an episodic night-time experience, Death Keeps Me Awake, for 50 people, each solo and listening to a radio broadcast.

The enigmatic radio broadcast cajoles you to drift through night-time streets and precincts – slowly but inexorably you are drawn to the centre of town, where cues for action and prompts for imagination are embedded, drawing you further into your own journey. Narrative threads evolve over episodes creating a dialogue between the existing world, the narrative fiction and the audience’s imagination.

We continue to create various walking works in places as diverse as Navy Pier, Chicago and outback Australia in Deniliquin.”

Tim Ingram-Smith talking walking

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Tim (far right) with fellow Spiral walkers

Tim (far right) with fellow Spiral walkers

Andrew Stuck first met Tim Ingram-Smith back in 2015 when he came on a walkshop to reveal the lost neighbourhood of London’s Kings Cross, on which Andrew had collaborated with fellow Talking Walking interviewee, Tom Bolton.  Tim mentioned that he was about to embark on a 3 year expedition to discover parts of London he had never visited.  He talked about how he was going to navigate his way across the metropolis, by following a set of spiral routes, beginning from Kings Cross. Andrew’s curiosity was piqued and he knew at that at some point, he would need to join Tim with his sound recorder to hand.

Recorded in November 2016 on part of a leg of the London Spiral, from West Ham Park to Forest Gate station. Published in November 2016. 19′ 18″ 18.2MB

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Full Spiral route – November 2016

If reading before the end of 2018, why not join Tim Ingram-Smith on a leg of the London Spiral – further details here:  https://londonspiral.wordpress.com

Download notes from the podcast interview with Tim Ingram-Smith

Ben Waddington talking walking

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Getting under the skin of a city like Birmingham isn’t something you can do overnight, although that was how Ben Waddington and a group friends began their quest some ten years ago. It was almost by accident that Ben became a guide to the hidden, overlooked or secret parts of the city.  He was trying to help people out in finding out about forgotten characters in Birmingham’s cultural and industrial past.

 

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Images from previous Still Walking events

Ben quickly recognised that he couldn’t be an expert in all things Birmingham and has since set out to help others reveal what is under the city’s skin, by setting up the Still Walking Festival, and supporting local people to tell their stories.

Interview by Andrew Stuck: Recorded in July 2015 on a walk in Old St Pancras Churchyard in London. Published in April 2016 25’07” 11.8MB

Download notes of items mentioned in the interview with Ben Waddington

STOP PRESS – SEPTEMBER 2017

Ben Waddington has drawn together an intriguing mix of walks and talks for the Still Walking Festival – it is a fantastic programme that includes the British Army and tightrope walkers. Read more here..

 

 

Diana Wesser talking walking

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DWARThe Leipzig City Quarter Expeditions is an intriguing walking art project which debunks prejudices about urban neighbourhoods – we all have heard of a notorious neighbourhood in one or other city, and Leipzig’s Eisenbahnstrasse had notched up infamy as “The worst street in Germany.” Diana Wesser and collaborator Antje Rademacker, both living in Leipzig devised a project in which residents of such neighbourhoods had a chance to tell their stories about living in these places, revealing just how different actuality is from perception.

Photo credit: D Wesser

Photo credit: D Wesser

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Photo credit: D Wesser

Photo credit: D Wesser

 

 

 

 

Baking and exchanging cakes are key to residents collecting and sharing stories about where they live – so entranced were some that they openly invited visitors into their homes, workplaces and lives.

The interview is recorded at the Vienna Walk 21 Conference in October 2015, at which Diana collected a Visionary Award.  21’10” 9.9MB

Download notes from the podcast interview with Diana_Wesser

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

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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”,a website from where to listen to such an audio walk and “Get lost”. This downland was only available for the week up to and including the 3rd October 2014.  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

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

What Jess has been doing since her interview:

Jess Allen is a performance artist from Aberystwyth. She combines long-distance walking art with one-to-one performance in rural landscapes, using the walk to set up unexpected interventions with the strangers she encounters. Her work is characterised by conviviality, conversation, camaraderie; the epic scale of the walk set against the intimacy of person-to-person connection. She has a PhD in biology from Aberystwyth University, and a PhD in contemporary performance from the University of Manchester. She trained as a dancer in between. She has worked as landscape and conservation officer for local government, dance lecturer (improvisation/somatics), community arts facilitator (AHRC Multi-Story Water) and as an aerial dancer for Full Tilt Aerial Theatre and inclusive (disabled/nondisabled) companies Blue Eyed Soul and EVERYBODY dance (UK/US/Europe). She is a qualified AeroZen aerial yoga instructor and currently teaches on the Syrcas Byd Bychan community circus programme at near-zero-carbon Small World Theatre down the coast in Aberteifi (Cardigan).

Her current solo portfolio includes:

Drop in the Ocean (2013-18)
Water Treatment Walks (2016)
Trans-missions (2015)
All in a Day’s Walk (2012-13)
Tilting at Windmills (2010)

She will be presenting Drop in the Ocean at the SPILL Festival of Performance from 1-3 November 2018. She will also be participating in the lunchtime talks series with festival director Robert Pacitti and artist Nabil Vega on Weds 31 October 2018.

Photo credits:  Paul Richardson, Bronwyn Preece, Richard Cott