According to the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, one can only be sentient in a sentient world. We see with eyes that already know moonlight and sunlight, hear with ears already accustomed to the sonorities of wind and weather, feel with hands that are already familiar with the roughness and smoothness of wood, stone, clay and other materials. Neither sun and moon, nor wind and weather, nor wood, stone and clay, are themselves sentient. But immersed in sentience – by invading the awareness of sentient bodies – they can, so to speak, double over and see, hear and touch themselves.
How can walking foster aesthetics of complexity? What can the embodied knowing of the pedestrian mean in the search process of sustainability? Trying to start unfolding these two convolute questions on a short discursive path, Sacha Kagan expects to stumble upon a mesh of conceptual branches: NatureCulture, eco-art, community resilience, artful knowing, queer ecologies, and maybe a couple more (or maybe a couple less, if times runs out). Some of these elements in Kagan's "serendipedestrian" talk, may sloppily branch off, and slip away from the sore-feet wayfarers audience. Other bits, with a tad of luck, may sagaciously turn out to entwine the staffs of sustainability-drifters, 'moving on'.
During the last ten years Jan Masschelein travelled with post-graduate students to post-conflict cities, non-tourist megapoles in China and quiet rural cities in Europe. Students were asked to walk day and night along arbitrary lines drawn on city maps. Lines starting and leading nowhere particularly, lines without plan, crossing at random neighborhoods, buildings, areas.
Marking the occasion of her 40th birthday, Deirdre Heddon invited 40 people to take her on a walk of their choice. These varied occasions of walking prompted reflection on what it is to walk with others. In 'Walking & Friendship', Heddon explores the histories and discourses attached to walking in company, as opposed to walking alone; the sorts of companionship walking allows and call forths; the ways in which different walks structure different sorts of being together – the side by side, the stepping into another's footsteps, the mutual pauses, the out of step. '40 Walks' considers how walking and the practicing of friendship are related; how walking and friendship travel together.
Sideways sparks off the Slow Mail project, an initiative of 'Waerbeke', a sociocultural movement investigating stillness and wellbeing in Flanders (Belgium) and Brussels. Citizens write to the next generation about topics they deem important enough to pass on to the future. These letters and parcels will be conserved for 18 years, being bricked in at the Stillness Portal, a former vicarage in the village of Waerbeke (Geraardsbergen), in the midst of a silent zone known as 'Dender-Mark'. Only in 2030, the addressees will be able to open their sendings. And where's the movement in all this? To be found in a hearty conversation.
Elke van Campenhout is a free lance dramaturg and researcher. Previously she worked on artistic research projects in Nadine (Brussels), PAF - Performing Arts Forum (Reims), TQW (tanzquartierwien), Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels, Gasthuis Amsterdam and many others.
Elke van Campenhout is in charge of the artistic and pedagogical profile and functioning of a.pt (advanced performance training): www.apass.be/apt.
PrimaveraRomana (primaveraromana.wordpress.com) is a common design project activated by Stalker in order to generate and share social knowledge and awareness on urban changes. This by sharing, with more and more people, the experience of walking across and mapping in common the changes of the contemporary Roman post urban territories.
The footnote is an elusive fugitive that creates diversions, detours and breaks of consciousness from the more linear path of a text. This is a path akin to that of the walker who switches-back, turns, retraces and falls between steps and gaps in thoughts.
A road that offers no exit for through motorized traffic is often called a dead-end road. However, when such a road continues as a road or path usable by pedestrians or cyclists, it is simply incorrect to sign such a road is dead-ended.
With nine urban walks through some of the worlds largest urban agglomeration (São Paulo, Seoul-Incheon, Istanbul, London, etc.), Martin Kohler exemplifies an experimental concept to relate spaces of cities that underwent a rapid urbanization in the last century. The urban walks are multi-day long walks through the entire urban body of world cities by a group or a single individual, resulting in maps of the walked path, photographic descriptions of spaces and social encounters, field notes and an animated sequence of the walk.
The bigger our metropolises have grown and sprawled, the more we have discovered that cities belonged to the biosphere. As urban animals, we are ready to discover and to experience the intimate, fascinating and complex intertwining between "urban" and "natural" spaces. Wilderness hiking, an activity that appeared in the 19th century, has developed during the 20th century as a massive social practice. Beyond "wilderness" and "human spaces", let's travel now on foot around our own metropolis.