I am a rambler…
- a weak-stemmed plant, esp any of various cultivated hybrid roses that straggle over other vegetation
- a person who rambles, esp one who takes country walks
- a person who lacks organization in his or her speech or writing
When I walk I wander, often without purpose or agenda. When I write I go in directions that I don’t always expect.
Rambling is my natural state. For me it speaks of a slower process, allowing one’s vision to expand.
This blog post is a ramble. A cultivated hybrid of ideas, wanderings, meditations and realisations made predominately in 2014.
Over the course of 2014 I did a lot of walking.
Not necessarily over great distances, mainly walking well trodden short routes time and again. This process was the foundation of the From Here project which spanned the whole of 2014 and a little of this year. To walk was to practice being with each other. To see a familiar landscape time and time again and to notice what we take for granted, to watch as the light made it beautiful.
Walking offered clarity to disparate thought.
This action of walking in addition to a series of encounters with different artists, projects, practices and places led me to undertake a period of research for professional development.
Getting lost in Brussels
I was supported in my professional development through funding from Creative Scotland. The funding allowed me to attend two festivals, Bronks in Brussels and the In Between Time festival in Bristol and to undertake a short research trip to Canada to spend time with Toronto based art atelier Mammalian Diving Reflex. My research focused on work for children and young people and work that had a social practice.
Walking is research.
An embodied action that offers space and thinking time, allows us to begin a process without needing to be clear on the destination, is social and gives permission for hanging out to be the centre of the work.
Much of my work and the projects that I undertake happen in collaboration with teenagers. Mammalian’s work Nightwalks with Teenagers begins to bring together much of what I’m in interested in by using walking as a process with young people. It takes it one step further though and the walk becomes part of the aesthetic of the performance something, which is more and more visible in a lot of contemporary performance work. An interesting article by Matt Trueman, which talks of this, can be found here.
Whilst in Canada I interviewed Sanjay Ratan who is one of the Torontions a group of parkdale residents who collaborate with MDR on many projects and who was one of the co creators of Night Walks with Teenagers. An articulate and fascinating individual Sanjay talked a lot about the process of night walks being one that is always shifting. Created in situ with local teens the walk is coloured of course by the teens energy and personality and is at the mercy of the local landscape and the idiosyncrasy offered. I was able to encounter Nightwalks first hand in Bristol. The strongest sensation I took from the encounter was the mutual responsibility that the art work seemed to balance on. Our experience was at once that of our own making and held by those around us, not just our young hosts but also my fellow audience members. It seems an obvious statement when written down but something about the simple act of walking together seemed to hold an abundance of realisations about the ways in which I seek to build artistic processes.
In the coming months as these experience seep in and I continue to ramble I look forward to how this research with affect my work.
Thanks to Creative Scotland for funding support