Walking as a mode of art practice could be said to have its roots in the Dada and Situationist movements of the early 20th Century, with significant developments during the conceptual ‘turn’ of the 1960s. High profile visual arts practitioners known for their use of walking, such as Richard Long, Hamish Fulton and Francis Alys have continued to establish the act of walking as art practice into the 21st century. Over the last ten to fifteen years a much more extensive, rich and interesting field has emerged crossing disciplinary boundaries in the arts, with artists, architects, filmmakers and writers employing walking as a means of creatively appropriating the city. Architects have been particularly active in this development, with writers such as Jane Jacobs and Jane Rendell, and practitioners such as the Stalker group in Rome transforming the way that public space, the built environment, and everyday interactions can be understood, shaped and framed by walking.
The studio will look at these phenomena with particular attention to our own city, London. The studio will use extended walks through London as well as texts, films and artworks which are structured in the form of guided walks, take inspiration from walks, or are developed on foot. We will place particular focus on the role that walking might play in the formulation of an artistic practice or design methodology.
You will ultimately be asked to lead a walk of your own devising - a kilometre long journey structured around a particular theme. Its documentation in words and images will form the basis of your dissertation. The studio aims to encourage ways of looking at the city ranging from the architectural to the literary, the economic to the biographical and to explore ways in which those different kinds of observation might inform each other. By inviting you to construct the narrative of your dissertation with attention to the needs of an audience, we also hope to encourage your development as writers.
Start reviewing some of the readings/films listed below.
1. Keep a record of your everyday and ordinary walks - it doesn’t matter how short or long they are. Note down the route that you take, and try to record the decisions that you make about e.g. where to cross the road, choosing a quiet or a noisier path, navigating around obstacles or awkward spots.
2. The Walking Artists Network has an active mailing list, with details of walk-based events, exhibitions, and projects, as well as an on-going debate around new publications on walking, and the place of walking as a creative critical practice. You can view the discussion, and join the list, at jiscmail.ac.uk.
First seven weeks of study
The first seven weeks of the studio will take place predominantly outside of the classroom. Following an initial introduction, we will use methods for generating short local walks, gradually moving further afield using a range of examples of artists walking projects including walkwalkwalk, Janet Cardiff, Jane Rendell, and Graeme Miller. These walk-works will be used to highlight and discuss a range of interconnected themes - the relationships between walking and politics, public space, everyday life and local stories/histories.
- Francis Alys, Seven Walks London, (London, Artangel, 2005)
- Francesco Careri, Walkscapes: Walking as an Aesthetic Practice, (Barcelona, Gili, 2002)
- Patrick Keiller, London, (BFI Video Publishing, 2005) on DVD
- Carl Lavery, The Pepys of London E11: Graeme Miller and the Politics of Linked, NTQ 21:2 (2005), pp. 148-160
- Graeme Miller, Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk: Re-imagining the Urban Landscape, NTQ 21:2 (2005), pp. 161-165
- Andrea Phillips, Walking and Looking, Cultural Geographies, 12: (2005), pp. 507-513
- Simon Pope, London Walking, (London, Batsford, 2000)
Studio 1: Another India
Studio 1: Another India will examine, reflect upon and critique the historic use of "exotic" motifs in design.
Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry
Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry is an exploration of race, gender, class and more in music.
Studio 4: What Not to Wear?
Studio 4: What Not to Wear? will investigate the roles that dress and fashion play in our workplaces.
Studio 5: Imperfect Theories
Studio 5: Imperfect Theories allows you to critically examine any work that can be seen as theory or presents an interesting relationship with theory.
Studio 6: Curating Contemporary Art: From the Wunderkammer to Installation art
Nico de Oliveira
Studio 6: Curating Contemporary Art examines the impact of curatorial practice on art.
Studio 7: Fashioning culture: clothing and the shaping of identity
Dr Lesley Stevenson
Studio 7: Fashioning culture will examine critically the links between fashion, clothing and identity.
Studio 8: Pleasure, Excess and Dirt
Studio 8 explores ideas of category, definition, identification and belonging through the examination of a series of objects and behaviours that appear to be in the wrong place instead of the right place.
Studio 9: The Continuing Lives of Objects
Studio 9: The Continuing Lives of Objects uses debates about change and preservation explore ideas within architecture.
Studio 10: Critical Theory and Critical Design. Artefacts, Images, Sites, Processes in Graphics and Illustration
Dipti Bhagat with Christopher Emmett
Studio 10 requires deep commitment and completion of critical theory and design for graphic design and illustration.
Studio 12: London Walking
Studio 12: London Walking looks at walking as a mode of creatively appropriating the city, with particular attention to our own city, London.
Studio 14: All in the best possible Taste
Dr John Cross
Studio 14: 'All in the best possible Taste' examines the historical influencers of taste, style and fashion.
Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas
Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas encourages you to explore how and why we make music, including its origin, relationship to technology and more.
Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling
Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling will see you produce storygraphs, storyboards and various forms of narrative analysis in the seminars.
Studio 17: Knowing Audiences
Studio 17: Knowing Audiences will encourage you to study an audience group using qualitative research methods in your investigations.
Studio 19: Material in Motion
Studio 19: Material in Motion will explore why an audience will put time, money and thought into acquiring an object.
Studio 20: Image ethics: Form, meaning and context
Dr Nick Haeffner
Studio 20: Image ethics: Form, meaning and context explores the aesthetics of the image and its role within fantasy, desire and social memory.
Studio 21: The Nonsensical Realm III
Studio 21: The Nonsensical Realm is a cross-disciplinary studio. This year it will engage with the idea of metaphor in art, architecture, design and music.
Studio 22: Meaningful work
Studio 22: Meaningful work explores the value of making and the idea of craft as meaningful work.
Studio 23: A Common Thread
Studio 23: A Common Thread examines the relationship between textiles and everyday life, including its design, trade, sustainability and more.