Scores for Walking Research-Creation Project (2021)

The pandemic has challenged what it means to have a collective and socially-engaged practice. While restrictions on movement and physical distancing have changed how we are in relation to one another, increased activism on racial injustice, mutual aid, and radical care, have shaped new ways of togetherness and solidarity. Artists, activists, and educators are reimagining how community, resilience, and social justice matter in the present moment and what it will look like in the future.

Invitation to Collaborate

WalkingLab invites you to imagine this future otherwise through a community-led, collective, and iterative walking research-creation gesture on place. We’d like to send you something. In the mail. To be activated and re-turned in another form. We would like to walk-with you now and into the future.

There are 12 scores printed on limited edition postcards. If you would like to receive a postcard score, please email: springgs [at] mcmaster [dot] ca with your complete mailing address (your office/house/PO box etc.)

Scores are open-ended instructions or propositions that ignite the potential for future action. As invitations to activate and imagine different futures, scores are iterative, but while repeatable, are not concerned with predictable outcomes. Scores are highly improvised and open with many possible realizations of a given work.

Protocols for Activating your Scores

Critical place research moves beyond static understandings of place and is instead concerned with how place is entwined with the social, material, cultural, and political dimensions of diverse human bodies, experiences, and communities. It understands place as intimately tied to issues of race, gender, ableism, capitalism, and settler colonization. There is an urgent need for explicit and political attention to critical place research in order for people to understand and develop a critical awareness of how they are connected to, implicated in, and responsible to place. In order to conduct critical place research, we need research practices that break with ableist, racist, sexist, extractive and settler colonial logics, and instead focus on ones that are situated, relational, and ethical. At WalkingLab we emphasize critical walking practices and insist that intersectionality, the place where research takes place, and how one moves through space be critically complicated and accounted for.

Research-creation combines creative and theoretical/scholarly practices. As a conjunctive practice research-creation is concerned with thinking-making-doing. Walking research-creation insists that walking scholarship open up transmaterial relations between human and nonhuman entities, become accountable to Indigenous knowledges and sovereignty to Land, consider the geosocial formations of the more-than-human, prioritize affective subjectivities, and emphasize movement as a way of knowing. Walking research-creation is accountable to an ethics and politics of critical walking methodologies. Walking research-creation combines movement with other creative practices that might include, but is not limited to the following: photography, drawing, mapping, sound, senses, performance, and conceptual art practices.

We are interested in generating walking research-creation critical place practices that are creative, ethical, political and in situ. Place should not be a background to the work, but a site of deep exploration. However, place is more-than a specific site, such as a city, but could include: waterways, a historical building, a hill, an excavation, a park, a room, a tree, a classroom.

Use the score to activate critical place research that combines walking research-creation with other forms of creative practice. Document your work (documentation does not need to be limited to photographs). Consider the temporality of the score practice: an hour, a day, daily for a month?

When you receive your postcard you are under no obligation to complete the research-creation activity. However, we are interested in what you have activated and would like to create an online exhibition and artist book publication. We also want you to be sure to walk safely. Once you complete your score we invite you to send images or high quality scans of your activities and any other ephemera generated in the process along with a 100 word description of your walking research-creation to WalkingLab (springgs at mcmaster dot ca). Sending your work to us is consent for us to use the submission in curating an exhibition and publication.

The 100 word description should think critically about your actions and the place. This does not need to be a conventional academic piece of writing. In your submission include: Your full name, institutional affiliation if applicable, the score you received and activated, and the name of the place where you completed your score research. Anonymous submissions will be accepted (we will know your email from the submission but you can indicate that you do not want to be credited on the website or in the book).

Selected documentation will be curated into an exhibition for the WalkingLab website and a small artist book dedicated to critical place walking research-creation. If your work is selected for the exhibition, or the publication, we will contact you for final confirmation of consent to use your material.

Published participants will receive a copy of the publication. The deadline for sending us your walking research-creation materials is June 1st, 2021. We will consider all submissions for the exhibition and publication. If your work is selected, we will contact you for final confirmation of consent to use your names and submissions (or please indicate if you wish to be anonymous). You may withdraw at that time. Images on a website exhibition can be withdrawn at a later date but we can’t withdraw materials from the publication.

If you have any questions please contact Dr. Springgay: springgs at mcmaster dot ca

This study has been reviewed by the McMaster University Research Ethics Board and received ethics clearance. If you have concerns or questions about your rights as a participant or about the way the study is conducted, please contact: McMaster Research Ethics Board Secretariat. You can find contact information here: https://research.mcmaster.ca/contact-us/#panel-700

For instructors or teachers interested in activating the scores with larger groups or classes as pedagogical activities, please contact us for a digital version of the scores. Suggested lesson ideas on how to activate scores can be found here: Score Activation Lessons.

Soundwalking with Sherry Ostapovitch, Hildegard Westerkamp, and WalkingLab

Soundwalking with Sherry Ostapovitch, Hildegard Westerkamp, and WalkingLab

January 17 2019

The week-long Weather Soundings event series featuring Hildegard Westerkamp finished with a soundwalk held on the University of Toronto, St. George campus. We walked without speaking; listening intimately to our surroundings as we made our way through the shifting architectural spaces of the campus. After passing by droning traffic and buildings, at Philosopher’s Walk we listened to Taddle Creek that runs beneath the campus, via a storm drain. Before it was buried by settlers over a century ago, this waterway was historically used by Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples for drinking, transportation, and fishing for salmon and trout. After crunching through the leaves of the Philosohper’s walkway we wove through the courtyards and corridors between buildings, transitioning between a variety of acoustic spaces. The sunny but crisp, cold weather seemed to amplify the humming heating systems of buildings.

Afterwards everyone offered their experiences of the walk including: the interplay between sound and other senses; the impact of sound on memory; and the tonal sounds produce by buildings. Hildegard Westerkamp reminds us of the importance of slowing down and listening.

Please find the full recording below:

Soundwalk with Introduction and Discussion (excerpts)

 

The Bank The Mine The Colony The Crime

The Bank The Mine The Colony The Crime: A Collaborative Walking Tour

October 5 2019

Toronto’s financial district, built on stolen Haudenosaunee and Mississauga lands, is home to many ghosts, notably those dispossessed by the global extractive industry headquartered on the city’s infamous Bay Street. The violence of (neo)colonialism haunts the corporate towers and cleansed streets of the financial district; it also haunts the pensions and savings of millions of Canadians who, knowingly or not, are invested in the industry via the neighbourhood’s preeminent financial institutions.

This glass, metal and concrete zone is a reactor of the imagination, where the abstract codes of global finance fuse with the settler colonial logics of racialized extraction and neoliberal capitalism. But what else might the imagination generate if we assembled ourselves otherwise? What resilient pasts, rebellious presents and radical futures flow beneath the surface, ready to erupt? How can we imagine and enact the complex solidarities we need to overturn the financialized global order of deadly inequalities and the fascistic spectres it unleashes?

 

Self-guided walking tour

To take the tour, we recommend loading this Google Map onto your phone and using the Soundcloud app or website to play the audio at each stop.

Specific links to the audio are in the description of each location in the Google Map.

📀 You can also download the audio files to your offline playback device by clicking the three dots to the left of each track on Soundcloud.

 

Google Map

The Bank, The Mine, The Colony, The Crime self-guided walking tour – Google My Maps

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1YUM9Rw2_vrlrtX_h20oOULiBZuy-qEbL&usp=sharing

Soundcloud audio

https://soundcloud.com/reimaginevalue/sets/bmcc

Presentations:

Objects in Mirrors: Mexican Artists on Canadian Mining
(ICE, Salvador Alanis & Ximena Berecochea) and Imre Szeman & Eva-Lynn Jagoe

“Objects in Mirrors” presents the work of Mexican artists who directly challenge practices and politics of foreign extraction in their country. Our objective is to introduce participants to Canadian extractivism in Latin America via the critical perspectives of artists living in directly affected areas. Participants will be given the opportunity to view visual art and performances of some of the key anti-extractivist artists in Mexico through a link to a dedicated website, sponsored by the Institute for Creative Exchange.

Salvador Alanis is a writer and cultural promoter. His interest in interdisciplinary work drove him to experiment in visual art, multimedia, television, and film. He has been awarded by the National Fund for the Arts in Mexico and is the Co-Founder of the Institute for Creative Exchange. He was born in Mexico, has two kids and lives in Toronto.

Ximena Berecochea is a photo-based artist and a professor at York University. Her work has been shown in various countries including Mexico, Canada, the United States, China, Spain, Perú and France. She is the Co-Founder of the Institute for Creative Exchange, in Toronto. She was born and raised in Mexico and lives in Canada since 2007.

Eva-Lynn Jagoe is a writer and Associate Professor of Latin America Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.

Imre Szeman is University Research Professor of Communication Art at the University of Waterloo

Eulogy for a Village: Gentrification and the Disappearance of Queer Sexual Geographies
Christopher Smith 

This “pop-up” talk considers the rise of gentrification in the Church/Wellesley village. Once understood as a necessary site to ensure an autonomous lgbtq community, rising rental costs have facilitated the displacement of persons and historic establishments. With the homonormative turn in queer politics one guiding assumption was that an alliance with corporate institutions would benefit queer communities through the redistribution of finance. This however is far from the case as seen in the gradual disappearance of venues that enabled a vibrant sexual culture. Whether speaking of bathhouses, night-clubs, or one’s favorite watering hole these sites of pleasure are increasingly lost amidst a rising condo boom. Thus, this talk is framed as a eulogy to those cherished spaces gone but not forgotten.

Christopher Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in the Dept. of Social Justice Education at OISE/ University of Toronto. His research interests reside in the productive interstices of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies, Queer and Feminist Theory, including Post-Colonial and Decolonial studies. They are currently teaching in the Women’s & Gender Studies Program, in the Dept. of Historical & Cultural Studies (University of Toronto, Scarborough).

Mining Injustice Network

The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) is a Toronto-based activist group that organizes to draw attention to and resist the negligent practices of Canadian mining companies, who comprise over 75% of mining businesses worldwide. In solidarity with affected communities and in response to their calls for support MISN seeks to: educate the Canadian public on mining injustices in Canada and around the world; advocate for stronger community control of mining practices, and in support of self-determination in mining-affected areas; and agitate against corporate impunity and in support of substantive regulatory change.

Golden Reflections, Ghostly Projections
A projection installation on absence and the collapsing of distance
Christopher Alton and Zannah Matson

This project presents a series of visual interventions that repurpose space in the city to make evident connections between extractive violence and the core of Canada’s financial systems. Inspired by the powerful work that haunting can perform within urban space, the installation will use methods of collage and superimposition which draw attention to absence and hold the free flow of capital over lives and the environment to account by making visible connections which are often hidden. Of central importance in our visual study is the Royal Bank Plaza on 200 Bay Street. As a symbol of extractive wealth, RBC is pivotal to embedding codes of global finance inside settler societies as it simultaneously helps to drive the financialization of everyday life in Toronto. Symbolic of this dual power, the gold-clad building looms over Front Street, welcoming passengers out of Union Station. Yet while the Plaza reflects a golden-mirrored hue back on the city, this obscures the much dirtier machinations operating within the building. Working between the “site” and the imagery of memory through superimposition, the visual materials included as a part of this intervention will look to annihilate distance between sites of extraction and the co-constitutive concentrations of capital, collapsing them to tell the ways in which Toronto is complicit in the violence of resource extraction. In doing so, ghostly images reveal Canada’s extractive financial industry lurking behind every gilded façade.

Harm Reduction as a Site of Reclamation from the Financialized Imaginary
Jamie Magnusson

This pop-up lecture and harm reduction table will explain how finance districts organize urbanized accumulation that feature gentrification on the one hand and the surveillance/carceral state on the other hand. Speculative real estate value is enhanced by violent expulsions of people from the neighborhood, criminalizing and incarcerating folks deemed to ‘not belong’. These tactics manufacture the deaths of black/brown sex workers, indigenous communities, and queer/trans communities. Harm reduction hubs in the downtown area intervene in these logics, creating caring communities among those against whom the police state has waged a war: the criminalized poor. Harm reduction is one site of resistance that insists on the livability and dignity of Black/Indigenous Queer/Trans lives, and advocates for decriminalization and abolition of prisons.

The pop-up harm reduction table represents ‘how to’ reclaim a piece of sidewalk from the economic imaginary of exchange value, creating a temporary communal space – a refuge. The refuge can embody social relations that prefigure the kinds of non-capitalist decolonized spaces we would like to build.

Jamie Magnusson teaches a course on Urban Poverty and Rebel Cities at OISE, University Toronto. She writes on financialization and capitalism’s production of illegal economies. She has been involved in sex worker-focused harm reduction with the All Saints Community Centre for about 10 years.

Liúxué (Study Abroad): The Economy of International Education
Alvis Choi 

From the perspective of the presenter’s own experience as an international student from Hong Kong and research from online sources, this pop-up talk will examine the indispensable economy of international education in Canada and how it relates to the cultural concept of education as investment, economic dreams and the academic industrial complex. Specifically, the talk will explore the various factors behind the significant number of students coming from mainland China to study abroad, the related social issues that the state and education institutions fail to address, and Chinese students’ heterogeneous attitudes towards the idea of assimilation.

Alvis Choi is a Toronto-based artist born and raised in Hong Kong. Alvis has presented work at various galleries, museums, theatres, and festivals including the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Gallery TPW, YTB Gallery, SummerWorks Festival, M:ST Performance Arts Festival, the Music Gallery, Mayworks Festival, Rhubarb Festival, Encuentro, Performance Studies international (PSi), Whippersnapper Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Alvis completed a Master of Environmental Studies at York University in 2016, with an area of concentration in Performance as Pedagogy and Community Transformation.

Vanessa Gray

Vanessa Gray is an Anishinaabe kwe from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located in Canada’s Chemical Valley. Vanessa is a research assisstant and project director with the Technoscience Research Unit at the University of Toronto. As an organizer with ASAP, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines, she works with community members to bring awareness to the health issues resulting from her reserve’s toxic surroundings.

Pleasure Prospects
New Mineral Collective 

New Mineral Collective is the largest and least productive mining company in the world. We provide counter-prospecting operations and geo-trauma healing therapies.´In the Toronto´s financial district NMC provides an audio therapy guiding listeners through a stratification of Toronto´s financial district, looking Canada’s entanglement with the shady realm of the extractive industry and its symbiotic relationship between geology, nationhood and power.

Tanya Busse (born in Moncton, NB, Canada; lives in Tromsø, Norway) and Emilija Škarnulytė (born in Vilnius; lives in Tromsø/Berlin) are New Mineral Collective (NMC), a platform that looks at contemporary landscape politics to better understand the nature and extent of human interaction with the Earth’s surface. As an organism, NMC infiltrates the extractive industry with alternative forces such as desire, body mining, and acts of counter prospecting.

A Walk in Progress
Sherry Ostapovitch & Anita Castelino

The bank, the mine, the colony, the crime – a walk in progress is a speculative sonic response to the walking tour. This response will be comprised of recordings of the speakers / interventions / performances as well as the sounds of the financial district as we pass through it. After the walk a creative composition will be assembled out of the recorded materials.

Sherry Ostapovitch is a sound artist whose work often incorporates field recordings and multi-channel sound installations. Recent work includes the ambisonic 360 degree sound installation, In a Queer Time and Space which assembles memories, places, and acoustic abstractions while grappling with the impermanence and fluidity of queer geographies.

Anita Castelino is a PhD student in Geography at York University. Her previous soundwork collaborations have been exhibited at New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) and across the UK as part of the The Listening Wall – featuring John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, and Yoko Ono.

ORGANIZING:

Writing of their project WalkingLab, Sarah E. Truman and Stephanie Springgay write: Conventional walking tours can reinforce dominant histories, memories, power relations, and normative or fixed understandings of place. This place-based knowledge serves various forms of governance, ideology, and maintains the status quo including the ongoing violence of settler colonization, and the erasure of racialized, gendered, and differently abled bodies. To counter dominant and normative walking tours that “take place” in specific locations, we developed a method we call a ‘queer walking tour’ to advocate for a critical consideration of place. This criticality, following Tuck and McKenzie, not only recognizes place as socially, culturally, politically, geosocially, and relationally constructed, it also considers “the place-based processes of colonization and settler colonization and works against their further erasure or neutralization through social science research.” The implication of queer walking tours is that they offer a form of place-based research that seeks to attend more responsibly and ethically to issues of place.

RiVAL: the ReImagining Value Action Lab is a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization located in Anishinaabe Aki (Thunder Bay, Canada) and active around the world. It is co-directed by activist-artists Cassie Thornton and Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice Max Haiven. RiVAL seeks to convoke the radical imagination using methods that include hosting conferences, symposia and summer camps, hosting workshops, film screenings and talks, supporting research, pedagogy and debate on key themes, publishing in print and online and organizing walking tours and other experimental public events. This event follows on a successful walking tour of London’s financial district organized by RiVAL’s Max Haiven and Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou of University College London in Spring of 2018.

The Bank The Mine The Colony The Crime: A Collaborative Walking Tour (Toronto)

Join us for a collaborative walking tour for art, activism and inquiry in Toronto’s financial district

October 5th, 2019, 1-5pm

Organized by Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman (Walkinglab) and Max Haiven (ReImagining Value Action Lab) with the support of the Toronto Biennial of Art.

An itinerant gathering including performances, talks and interventions by individuals and collectives including:

Alvis Choi
Vanessa Gray
ICE, Eva-Lynn Jagoe and Imre Szeman
Zannah Matson and Christopher Alton
Jamie Magnusson
New Mineral Collective
The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
Sherry Ostopovitch and Anita Castelino
Christopher Smith

We will assemble at the RBC Plaza at 200 Bay St at 12:45pm. 

REGISTER: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-bank-the-mine-the-colony-the-crime-a-collaborative-walking-tour-tickets-72465453121

Toronto’s financial district, built on stolen Haudenosaunee and Mississauga lands, is home to many ghosts, notably those dispossessed by the global extractive industry headquartered on the city’s infamous Bay Street. The violence of (neo)colonialism haunts the corporate towers and cleansed streets of the financial district; it also haunts the pensions and savings of millions of Canadians who, knowingly or not, are invested in the industry via the neighbourhood’s preeminent financial institutions.
 

This glass, metal and concrete zone is a reactor of the imagination, where the abstract codes of global finance fuse with the settler colonial logics of racialized extraction and neoliberal capitalism. But what else might the imagination generate if we assembled ourselves otherwise? What resilient pasts, rebellious presents and radical futures flow beneath the surface, ready to erupt? How can we imagine and enact the complex solidarities we need to overturn the financialized global order of deadly inequalities and the fascistic spectres it unleashes?

Accessibility: The walk takes place on the city of Toronto streets. Most sidewalks are clear and have cut out curbs. When necessary to access some buildings there are ramps. If you have any accessibility requirements or questions please contact stephanie.springgay@utoronto.ca

Timing: We invite everyone to join the full walk. If by chance you need to join at some point on the walk, we have provided approximate times below. We cannot fully guarantee the precise times. Meeting spots might be subject to immediate change because of construction. In the event of a change, it will be very close by.

One of the pop-up events is a sound file. Please bring mobile devices and headphones if possible and download the following ahead of time (Link will be posted here at end of September). 

1. 200 Bay St. at the corner of Wellington (large plaza area). Meeting place and introductory remarks by WalkingLab. 1 pm

2. ICE+Szeman+Jagoe. Brookfield Place. Wellington St. Entrance (East of Bay St.). Please note that this buildings address is 181 Bay St., but we are convening at the Wellington St entrance. 1:20 pm

3. Smith. East end of Berzy Park (Wellington and Church, beneath the Gooderham Building mural of windows. 1:45 pm

4. Mining Injustice Network. Brookfield Place. FRONT St. Entrance and plaza (East of Bay St.). Please note that this buildings address is 181 Bay St., but we are convening at the Front St entrance plaza. 2:10 pm

5. Alton/Matson. Laneway. 123 Front St. Starbucks. We are meeting in the courtyard to the west and behind the Starbucks. 2:15 pm

6. Magnusson. Corner of University, York, and Front St. North Side. Plaza with glass entrances into Union Station. Across from Royal York Hotel. 2:40 pm

7. Choi. TD Tower “Cows” (in the plaza between 66, 77 and 100 Wellington St.) 3:05 pm

8. Gray. Toronto Stock Exchange. 130 King St W. 3:30 pm.

9. New Mineral Collective Sound Walk. First Canadian Place, Bay St entrance. 4 pm

10. Ostapovitch. Continuous throughout.

11. Max Haiven. Queen Street @ Peter St. Closing remarks. 5 pm

Blurbs & Bios

Objects in Mirrors: Mexican Artists on Canadian Mining
(ICE, Salvador Alanis & Ximena Berecochea) and Imre Szeman & Eva-Lynn Jagoe

“Objects in Mirrors” presents the work of Mexican artists who directly challenge practices and politics of foreign extraction in their country. Our objective is to introduce participants to Canadian extractivism in Latin America via the critical perspectives of artists living in directly affected areas. Participants will be given the opportunity to view visual art and performances of some of the key anti-extractivist artists in Mexico through a link to a dedicated website, sponsored by the Institute for Creative Exchange.

Salvador Alanis is a writer and cultural promoter. His interest in interdisciplinary work drove him to experiment in visual art, multimedia, television, and film. He has been awarded by the National Fund for the Arts in Mexico and is the Co-Founder of the Institute for Creative Exchange. He was born in Mexico, has two kids and lives in Toronto.

Ximena Berecochea is a photo-based artist and a professor at York University. Her work has been shown in various countries including Mexico, Canada, the United States, China, Spain, Perú and France. She is the Co-Founder of the Institute for Creative Exchange, in Toronto. She was born and raised in Mexico and lives in Canada since 2007.

Eva-Lynn Jagoe is a writer and Associate Professor of Latin America Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.

Imre Szeman is University Research Professor of Communication Art at the University of Waterloo

Eulogy for a Village: Gentrification and the Disappearance of Queer Sexual Geographies
Christopher Smith

This “pop-up” talk considers the rise of gentrification in the Church/Wellesley village. Once understood as a necessary site to ensure an autonomous lgbtq community, rising rental costs have facilitated the displacement of persons and historic establishments. With the homonormative turn in queer politics one guiding assumption was that an alliance with corporate institutions would benefit queer communities through the redistribution of finance. This however is far from the case as seen in the gradual disappearance of venues that enabled a vibrant sexual culture. Whether speaking of bathhouses, night-clubs, or one’s favorite watering hole these sites of pleasure are increasingly lost amidst a rising condo boom. Thus, this talk is framed as a eulogy to those cherished spaces gone but not forgotten.

Christopher Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in the Dept. of Social Justice Education at OISE/ University of Toronto. His research interests reside in the productive interstices of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies, Queer and Feminist Theory, including Post-Colonial and Decolonial studies. They are currently teaching in the Women’s & Gender Studies Program, in the Dept. of Historical & Cultural Studies (University of Toronto, Scarborough).

Mining Injustice Network
TBA

The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) is a Toronto-based activist group that organizes to draw attention to and resist the negligent practices of Canadian mining companies, who comprise over 75% of mining businesses worldwide. In solidarity with affected communities and in response to their calls for support MISN seeks to: educate the Canadian public on mining injustices in Canada and around the world; advocate for stronger community control of mining practices, and in support of self-determination in mining-affected areas; and agitate against corporate impunity and in support of substantive regulatory change.

Golden Reflections, Ghostly Projections
A projection installation on absence and the collapsing of distance
Christopher Alton and Zannah Matson

This project presents a series of visual interventions that repurpose space in the city to make evident connections between extractive violence and the core of Canada’s financial systems. Inspired by the powerful work that haunting can perform within urban space, the installation will use methods of collage and superimposition which draw attention to absence and hold the free flow of capital over lives and the environment to account by making visible connections which are often hidden. Of central importance in our visual study is the Royal Bank Plaza on 200 Bay Street. As a symbol of extractive wealth, RBC is pivotal to embedding codes of global finance inside settler societies as it simultaneously helps to drive the financialization of everyday life in Toronto. Symbolic of this dual power, the gold-clad building looms over Front Street, welcoming passengers out of Union Station. Yet while the Plaza reflects a golden-mirrored hue back on the city, this obscures the much dirtier machinations operating within the building. Working between the “site” and the imagery of memory through superimposition, the visual materials included as a part of this intervention will look to annihilate distance between sites of extraction and the co-constitutive concentrations of capital, collapsing them to tell the ways in which Toronto is complicit in the violence of resource extraction. In doing so, ghostly images reveal Canada’s extractive financial industry lurking behind every gilded façade.

Harm Reduction as a Site of Reclamation from the Financialized Imaginary
Jamie Magnusson

This pop-up lecture and harm reduction table will explain how finance districts organize urbanized accumulation that feature gentrification on the one hand and the surveillance/carceral state on the other hand. Speculative real estate value is enhanced by violent expulsions of people from the neighborhood, criminalizing and incarcerating folks deemed to ‘not belong’. These tactics manufacture the deaths of black/brown sex workers, indigenous communities, and queer/trans communities. Harm reduction hubs in the downtown area intervene in these logics, creating caring communities among those against whom the police state has waged a war: the criminalized poor. Harm reduction is one site of resistance that insists on the livability and dignity of Black/Indigenous Queer/Trans lives, and advocates for decriminalization and abolition of prisons.

The pop-up harm reduction table represents ‘how to’ reclaim a piece of sidewalk from the economic imaginary of exchange value, creating a temporary communal space – a refuge. The refuge can embody social relations that prefigure the kinds of non-capitalist decolonized spaces we would like to build.

Jamie Magnusson teaches a course on Urban Poverty and Rebel Cities at OISE, University Toronto. She writes on financialization and capitalism’s production of illegal economies. She has been involved in sex worker-focused harm reduction with the All Saints Community Centre for about 10 years.

Liúxué (Study Abroad): The Economy of International Education
Alvis Choi

From the perspective of the presenter's own experience as an international student from Hong Kong and research from online sources, this pop-up talk will examine the indispensable economy of international education in Canada and how it relates to the cultural concept of education as investment, economic dreams and the academic industrial complex. Specifically, the talk will explore the various factors behind the significant number of students coming from mainland China to study abroad, the related social issues that the state and education institutions fail to address, and Chinese students' heterogeneous attitudes towards the idea of assimilation.

Alvis Choi is a Toronto-based artist born and raised in Hong Kong. Alvis has presented work at various galleries, museums, theatres, and festivals including the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Gallery TPW, YTB Gallery, SummerWorks Festival, M:ST Performance Arts Festival, the Music Gallery, Mayworks Festival, Rhubarb Festival, Encuentro, Performance Studies international (PSi), Whippersnapper Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Alvis completed a Master of Environmental Studies at York University in 2016, with an area of concentration in Performance as Pedagogy and Community Transformation.

Vanessa Gray

Vanessa Gray is an Anishinaabe kwe from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located in Canada's Chemical Valley. Vanessa is a research assisstant and project director with the Technoscience Research Unit at the University of Toronto. As an organizer with ASAP, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines, she works with community members to bring awareness to the health issues resulting from her reserve's toxic surroundings.

Pleasure Prospects
New Mineral Collective

New Mineral Collective is the largest and least productive mining company in the world. We provide counter-prospecting operations and geo-trauma healing therapies.´In the Toronto´s financial district NMC provides an audio therapy guiding listeners through a stratification of Toronto´s financial district, looking Canada’s entanglement with the shady realm of the extractive industry and its symbiotic relationship between geology, nationhood and power.

Tanya Busse (born in Moncton, NB, Canada; lives in Tromsø, Norway) and Emilija Škarnulytė (born in Vilnius; lives in Tromsø/Berlin) are New Mineral Collective (NMC), a platform that looks at contemporary landscape politics to better understand the nature and extent of human interaction with the Earth’s surface. As an organism, NMC infiltrates the extractive industry with alternative forces such as desire, body mining, and acts of counter prospecting.

The bank, the mine, the colony, the crime – a walk in progress
Sherry Ostapovitch & Anita Castelino

The bank, the mine, the colony, the crime – a walk in progress is a speculative sonic response to the walking tour. This response will be comprised of recordings of the speakers / interventions / performances as well as the sounds of the financial district as we pass through it. After the walk a creative composition will be assembled out of the recorded materials.

Sherry Ostapovitch is a sound artist whose work often incorporates field recordings and multi-channel sound installations. Recent work includes the ambisonic 360 degree sound installation, In a Queer Time and Space which assembles memories, places, and acoustic abstractions while grappling with the impermanence and fluidity of queer geographies.

Anita Castelino is a PhD student in Geography at York University. Her previous soundwork collaborations have been exhibited at New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) and across the UK as part of the The Listening Wall - featuring John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, and Yoko Ono.

ORGANIZING:

Writing of their project WalkingLab, Sarah E. Truman and Stephanie Springgay write: Conventional walking tours can reinforce dominant histories, memories, power relations, and normative or fixed understandings of place. This place-based knowledge serves various forms of governance, ideology, and maintains the status quo including the ongoing violence of settler colonization, and the erasure of racialized, gendered, and differently abled bodies. To counter dominant and normative walking tours that “take place” in specific locations, we developed a method we call a ‘queer walking tour’ to advocate for a critical consideration of place. This criticality, following Tuck and McKenzie, not only recognizes place as socially, culturally, politically, geosocially, and relationally constructed, it also considers “the place-based processes of colonization and settler colonization and works against their further erasure or neutralization through social science research.” The implication of queer walking tours is that they offer a form of place-based research that seeks to attend more responsibly and ethically to issues of place.

RiVAL: the ReImagining Value Action Lab is a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization located in Anishinaabe Aki (Thunder Bay, Canada) and active around the world. It is co-directed by activist-artists Cassie Thornton and Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice Max Haiven. RiVAL seeks to convoke the radical imagination using methods that include hosting conferences, symposia and summer camps, hosting workshops, film screenings and talks, supporting research, pedagogy and debate on key themes, publishing in print and online and organizing walking tours and other experimental public events. This event follows on a successful walking tour of London’s financial district organized by RiVAL’s Max Haiven and Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou of University College London in Spring of 2018.

Article in MAI Feminism’s Special Issue on Feminist New Materialisms

WalkingLab‘s contribution to this special issue on Feminist New Materialisms is to consider time as affective, and open to a future otherwise. In contrast to chronos time that is ordered and sequential, we are interested in time that vectors and seeps, and that is imbued with feeling. The article walks the reader through three research-creation walking events.

 

Here is the link to the article: https://maifeminism.com/walking-research-creation-qtbipoc-temporalities-and-world-makings/

 

Call for Participants: Walking Tour in Toronto’s Financial District

Call for proposals – due July 15
The bank, the mine, the colony, the crime: A walk for the radical imagination against Bay Street
A collaborative walking tour for art, activism and inquiry in Toronto’s financial district
October 5th, 2019, 10:30am-4pm

Organized by Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman (WalkingLab)
and Max Haiven (ReImagining Value Action Lab – RiVAL)

Please submit proposals to present or participate, or sign up for updates here by July 15: https://forms.gle/WKH9WhuBt8cXR5Va9

Toronto’s financial district, built on stolen Haudenosaunee and Mississauga lands, is home to many ghosts, notably those dispossessed by the global extractive industry headquartered on the city’s infamous Bay Street. The violence of (neo)colonialism haunts the corporate towers and cleansed streets of the financial district; it also haunts the pensions and savings of millions of Canadians who, knowingly or not, are invested in the industry via the neighbourhood’s preeminent financial institutions.

This glass, metal and concrete zone is a reactor of the imagination, where the abstract codes of global finance fuse with the settler colonial logics of racialized extraction and neoliberal capitalism. But what else might the imagination generate if we assembled ourselves otherwise? What resilient pasts, rebellious presents and radical futures flow beneath the surface, ready to erupt? How can we imagine and enact the complex solidarities we need to overturn the financialized global order of deadly inequalities and the fascistic spectres it unleashes?

WalkingLab and the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL) propose to assemble a temporary community of activists, artists, scholars and other peripatetic counter-speculators to investigate and challenge this power by walking together. On 5 October 2019 we will assemble in Toronto’s financial district to share our knowledge, ideas and forms of resistance through a series of presentations at various locations. We are calling for expressions of interest from those who might be willing to share their stories and talents as part of a collaborative walking tour.

Please use this form to propose a talk, a performance, or another intervention that could take place during our day-long event. Most contributions will take the form of 15 minute presentations that will take place at locations along our route, but we are also keen to explore other possibilities including durational artworks, installations, media or time-based works, and games. We anticipate that we will walk together for several hours hearing presentations at specific sites before retiring to a nearby indoor space for a conversation and panel. There will be a lunch break.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

    Counter-speculations: pre-colonial memories, anti-colonial struggles and decolonized dreaming in the territories currently known as “Toronto”
    The afterlives and traces of slavery and racial exploitation in (Canadian) financial and banking capital, including the role of Canadian banks in necolonialism in the Caribbean
    Confronting the financial mechanisms that drive extractive capitalism: anti-mining and other activism
    The architectures of financialized power: concrete, abstract, digital, material
    Colonial algorithms: data extractivism, surveillance capitalism and the gendered/raced bodies they target in the city
    Histories of financial violence, crime and activism in “Canada”
    Artistic and academic confrontations (and/or complicities with) extractive capital
    Biting the hand: confronting extractive and financial sponsorship of arts and culture
    Urban zones of extraction and colonial dispossession: struggle within/against/beyond “gentrification”
    Marketization: oblique uptakes on how ‘the market’ appears, proliferates, and captures daily life

Modest honouraria or artist fees are available for selected presenters.

Writing of their project WalkingLab, Sarah E. Truman and Stephanie Springgay write: Conventional walking tours can reinforce dominant histories, memories, power relations, and normative or fixed understandings of place. This place-based knowledge serves various forms of governance, ideology, and maintains the status quo including the ongoing violence of settler colonization, and the erasure of racialized, gendered, and differently abled bodies. To counter dominant and normative walking tours that “take place” in specific locations, we developed a method we call a ‘queer walking tour’ to advocate for a critical consideration of place. This criticality, following Tuck and McKenzie, not only recognizes place as socially, culturally, politically, geosocially, and relationally constructed, it also considers “the place-based processes of colonization and settler colonization and works against their further erasure or neutralization through social science research.” The implication of queer walking tours is that they offer a form of place-based research that seeks to attend more responsibly and ethically to issues of place.

The ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL) is a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization located in Anishinaabe Aki (Thunder Bay, Canada) and active around the world. It is co-directed by activist-artists Cassie Thornton and Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice Max Haiven. RiVAL seeks to convoke the radical imagination using methods that include hosting conferences, symposia and summer camps, hosting workshops, film screenings and talks, supporting research, pedagogy and debate on key themes, publishing in print and online and organizing walking tours and other experimental public events. This event follows on a successful walking tour of London’s financial district organized by RiVAL’s Max Haiven and Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou of University College London in Spring of 2018.

Queer Walking Tours and the affective contours of place

WalkingLab has a new publication out in cultural geographies.

Here’s the abstract:

This article outlines a method we call Queer Walking Tours as site-specific research-creation events. It gives a brief overview of the Queer Walking Tours as method and then describes one specific tour that explored the concepts ‘Migration, Militarisms, and Speculative Geology’. Queer Walking Tours offer cultural geography and a range of other disciplines and fields a form of place based research that draws on Indigenous, anti-racist, feminist, and queer frameworks to open up different conversations around the notion of place.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1474474019842888

Counterfuturisms and speculative temporalities: walking research-creation in school

WalkingLab has a new publication in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education entitled ‘Counterfuturisms and speculative temporalities: walking research-creation in school.’

https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2019.1597210

Here is the abstract:

In education, walking has typically been used as a pedagogical strategy to move student bodies from one point to another, emphasizing creativity, discovery, health, and mobility. Although there are important reasons to advocate for walking in schools, the tenuous link between walking and creativity can be easily commodified and normalized by neoliberalism. Further, when walking is equated with discovery and mobility it enacts a progress narrative of time. To formulate an understanding of futurity that is counter to such normative articulations, we turn to scholars who conceive of space–time outside humanist reproductive logics. If chronos time accelerates, rendering some bodies and subjects successful in schools, while simultaneously pushing other bodies and subjects ‘out of time,’ then different configurations of time are necessary in order to think otherwise about learning. In this paper, we discuss two walking research-creation projects in school contexts (elementary and secondary) that engage with counterfuturisms and queer enactments of temporality. Departing from an outcomes-based model of walking that is inscribed in neoliberal temporal schemes, we consider the complex ways that students can engage in walking as a method of inquiry into their spatio-temporal world-making.

Uncomfortable Art Tours, London UK


WalkingLab
was in London and took part in an “Uncomfortable Art Tour” at the Tate Britain, led by The Exhibitionist (aka Alice Procter: https://www.theexhibitionist.org/). The walking tour examines the colonial and imperial legacies of museums, collectors/patrons, and art practices. Rather than focus on the biography of the artist or the aesthetic elements that compose a painting, the tour asks questions about how national identity is represented in art, how art is part of the history of power, and the xenophobic ways that art communicates sovereign morals and character. The tours give space to the discounted and recounted stories and counter-stories invisible or absent in museum tours, texts, and education.

During the tour, Procter pointed out how below many of the official gallery wall labels, were labels that invited audiences to visit a URL wherethey could read ‘alternative’ histories and critiques of the artwork by what the UK calls BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) scholars, artists, and museum staff. Unfortunately, she noted, the labour of creating these ‘alternative’ versions is always unpaid. While seemingly attempting to ‘include’ marginalized voices, to do so at the cost of labour of the very people already marginalized within the institution seems a hollow gesture.

The work of feminist, anti-racist, and anti-colonial work, it seems, is not an institutional commitment, but the labour of queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and people of colour. In a culture where the endeavor to materialize counter narratives always falls on those already oppressed, Proctor’s tours are a ‘walk’ in the right direction.

Stephanie Springgay to give a lecture at Goldsmiths, London

WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay, will be giving a lecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, November 1st 2018, 17:00-18:30, Deptford Town Hall 109

The Ethics and Politics of Research-Creation Methodologies with Diverse Public

Abstract: Feminist scholars argue that we need research methods that break with ableist, racist, extractive and settler colonial logics, and instead focus on ones that are situated, relational, and ethical. As such researchers are urgently turning to new ways of doing research and taking action, including research-creation methodologies that are responsive to the needs of communities, and support a practice of conducting research that is accountable to how bodies and places are entangled. Research-creation combines artistic and scholarly research practices, and names a set of methodological innovations into what counts as scholarly research. This seminar will emphasize the importance of feminist, anti-racist, and anti-colonial research frameworks, influenced by feminist new materialisms, feminist posthumanisms, queer theory, and affect theory. To contextualize these situated and relational ways of doing research a number of case studies/exemplifications with diverse publics and communities will be shared.

 

 

Toxic Love / Making-with-Windermere Basin

Hosted by

Stephanie Springgay (University of Toronto/WalkingLab and Bodies in Translation), Sarah E. Truman (Manchester Metropolitan University/WalkingLab) & Astrida Neimanis (University of Sydney/Composting Research Group)

Activators:

Natasha Myers, York University

Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Artist

Windermere Basin, at the western tip of Hamilton Harbour in Oniatarí:io / Niigani-gichigami (Lake Ontario) was once the most polluted body of water in North America and is now Canada’s largest man-made coastal wetland. Merging DIY citizen science testing with performance art, choreography, and writing, Toxic Love / Making-with-Windermere Basin investigated ways of loving and living with wounded bodies of water in the shadow of settler colonial petrocapitalism.

Our investigations used domestic kitchen utensils and food stuffs, gynecological home test kits, lab science tests, microplastic monitoring technology, cyanotype printing, and affect meters to gather data about the health and status of the basin’s body, and for understanding our own bodies’ relations to this place. Activator Natasha Myers (York University) invited the group to think of their bodies as sensors connected with an already sentient world. Cultivating forms of ‘alter data,’ Myers asked us to detune colonial common sense and to form healing relationships. She asked: “What are ways to practice what matters to the land?”

Activator Vanessa Dion Fletcher’s (artist) speculum performance invited participants to think about transgenerational and reproductive violence, epigenetics, and multiple watery bodies. 14 invited participants joined us for the research-creation event.

Photographs by Anise Truman

Stone Walks Lancaster: Militarisms, migration, and speculative geology

On August 10th, 2018 more than 60 participants joined WalkingLab for Stone Walks Lancaster: Militarisms, migration, and speculative geology, in Lancaster, PA. The walk included ‘pop-up’ lectures and artistic interventions into the name/place/concept ‘Lancaster.’ Approaching topics from a queer, feminist, Indigenous and critical race framework, the walk took up the theme of Lancaster obliquely. Topics ranged from the Lancaster Bomber, the Lancaster Treaty, the Sims speculum (from Lancaster South Carolina), militarisms, migration, settler colonization, Black diaspora, free market capitalism, sinkholes and speculative geology.

Pop up lectures by:

Chad Shomura, University of Colorado Denver: Settler Affect in Native Lands
Sarah Cefai, University of the Arts London: Market Exchange in Experience Capitalism
Michelle Wright, Emory University: Discipline & Punish…and Entanglement
Dana Luciano, Georgetown University: That Sinking Feeling
Greg Seigworth, Millersville University: Inventory of Lancaster Shimmers
WalkingLab: Everyday Militarisms & Minor Activisms

 

Photographs by Mark Yang, Lancaster PA

Stone Walks Lancaster

Stone Walks Lancaster: Militarisms, migration, and speculative geology
Friday August 10th 7:15 pm, 2018
Lancaster PA
Meet outside the front doors of the Ware Centre
Join WalkingLab for a 90+ minute walk in Lancaster, PA.

Queering the format of a walking tour, Stone Walks Lancaster will include ‘pop-up’ lectures and artistic interventions into the name/place/concept ‘Lancaster.’ Approaching topics from a queer, feminist, Indigenous and critical race framework, the walk takes up the theme of Lancaster obliquely. Topics range from the Lancaster Bomber, the Lancaster Treaty, the Sims speculum from Lancaster South Carolina interrogating militarism, migration, settler colonization, Black diaspora, free market capitalism, sinkholes and speculative geology.

Come prepared to walk with water, and other necessary items. The walk will be accessible on paved sidewalks. The event is free and open to the public.

Please register using Eventbrite

Pop up lectures by:

Chad Shomura, University of Colorado Denver: Settler Affect in Native Lands
Sarah Cefai, University of the Arts London: Market Exchange in Experience Capitalism
Michelle Wright, Emory University: Discipline & Punish…and Entanglement
Dana Luciano, Georgetown University: That Sinking Feeling
Greg Seigworth, Millersville University: Inventory of Lancaster Shimmers
WalkingLab: Everyday Militarisms & Minor Activisms

Indelible Refusal

This series of public lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, workshops, artistic walking interventions, performances, and master classes aimed to actively engage in pedagogies of refusal and solidarity. The program aimed to walk-with and think-with Indigenous, Black, 2 spirit, queer and trans artists and scholars to work through concepts related to land, settler colonialism, slavery, erasure, violence, and refusal.

Program of the event:

Keynote lecture by Kim TallBear “Tipi Confessions: A Research-Creation Laboratory” on the sexually-themed performances Tipi Confessions. Tipi Confessions Indigenizes sexy storytelling and performance. The show is a key initiative of ReLab, a research-creation laboratory founded by Dr. TallBear at the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Foregrounding Indigenous analytics, standpoints, and contemporary practices, the ReLab produces research, performance, and art. With good relations in mind, that research and creative practice intersect two areas of inquiry, Indigenous sexualities and Indigenous “naturecultures.”

First Story Toronto gave a walking tour of the University of Toronto highlighting the continuing history of Indigenous presence upon the lands that constitute University of Toronto’s St. George Campus. The stories, which constitute a history of fraught relations between this institution and the original persons (human and nonhuman) whom this institution has systematically displaced, are stories of loss and restoration, victory and sacrifice, hunger and satiation, and breakage and repair; they are inscribed upon these lands, sung by buried waters, written within the walls, and whispered by the ivy that clings to sedate stone and brick exteriors.

Kathryn Yusoff and Elizabeth Povinelli lead a seminar called “Insurgent Geology, Fugitive Life” that examined how late liberalism and the Anthropocene unravel a set of normative discourses on agency and genealogy that cohered around (biocentric) life, the seminar turned to other durational fields of geology conceived through the concepts of geonotology (Povinelli) and geologic life (Yusoff). Focusing on the role of settler colonialism and the geologies of race in relation to New World/Old World/Newer World colonialism, we will explore some insurgent junctions in the tenses of Nonlife.

Karrabing Film Collective screened two of their films: Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams (2016) & Night Time Go (2017). Following the screening Elizabeth Povinelli and Kim TallBear discussed the process of creating the films.

Kim TallBear and Gein Wong shared their creative work at First Nations House over a community lunch.

“Mapping Memory: Public Space as Archive” was a panel discussion between Camille Turner, Cheryl Thompson, and moderated by Honor Ford-Smith. The discussion examined counter-cartographical approaches to mapping, memory, and the archive in order to resist dominant power structures, question the assumptions that conventional maps produce, and recognize different spatial knowledge systems. The panel focused on local archival material and Black history in Toronto.

Artist jes sachse was in residence during the week to develop a new project incorporating ASL into dance-based story telling. They also co-curated with Golboo Amani “Desire Paths: Poetic choreographies and the conversation of space finding” a discussion on the intersection of social justice & performance, and the vital labour of radical space making.

Camille Turner launched in a one-time only live performace and walking tour BlackGrange, that rethinks and re-imagines the present by illuminating histories of the African Diaspora in Toronto’s Grange neighbourhood.

 “Our Continuing Relationship with the Humber River, An Evening with Balance Bringers, Drawing With Knives and Eventual Ashes” was a lecture and shadow puppet performance with Gein Wong.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher’s walking tour “Finding Language: A Word Scavenger Hunt” in the OISE library examined the intersections between Indigenous languages, neurodiversity, learning disabilities, and performance.

February 26 to March 6, 2018

This event was funded through the Jackman Humanities Institute, The Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies, University of Toronto, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, The Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Sexual Diversity Studies University of Toronto, The Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto, the Centre for Indigenous Studies, University of Toronto, and the Technoscience Research Unit, University of Toronto.

Organized by: Stephanie Springgay, Curriculum, Teaching & Learning, OISE; V.K. Preston, FAS Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies, University of Toronto.

Queer Sonic Cultures Walking-Composing Research-Creation

WalkingLab‘s Sarah E. Truman and David Ben Shannon have published an article and 10 ‘sonic cultures’ (songs) in Capacious Journal. The article and songs are based on their long distance walk along St. Cuthbert’s Way. http://capaciousjournal.com/article/queer-sonic-cultures/

Here is the abstract: Walking in nature has long been associated with creativity. Yet walking’s associated research and artistic practices remain dogged by representationalism. Concomitantly, intersectional concerns of race, gender, and dis/ability determine what kinds of bodies are allowed to walk where (and in this case, the where is Brexit-era Britain). This article attempts to navigate the complexity of these tensions, contextualizing a five-day walking research-creation project along St. Cuthbert’s Way that we called Queer Sonic Cultures. As academics and artists interested in the relationship between walking and composition, our initial propositions are to become affectedas we walked and to create sonic cultures (songs) using whatever affected us along the way. In using research-creation as a research methodology, we understand our artistic compositional practice of co-creating lyrics-melody-harmony-production-arrangement as the research. Unlike some forms of arts-based research that use an artistic form to disseminate research findings, in research-creation the artistic practice is the research and the theory. In the interests of continuing to make this apparent, we shall prefer to describe this contextualizing article as Academic Liner Notes. The Academic Liner Notes begin with a brief description of the location of the walk, contextualized within the tradition of walking and composing in the British landscape, and the use of sound-based methods and literature to represent such landscapes. In this section we will trouble the whiteness and cis-hetero heritage of walking and art in rural Britain. Following this, we will introduce research-creation as a methodology contextualized within affect studies. We argue that the resultant sonic cultures (nine in total) rather than representing the walk, in fact, more-than-representationally intensify the affective dimensions of the relations we were part of along the way.

Camille Turner and her WalkingLab project BlackGrange featured on CBC

 

WalkingLab's fabulous collaborator, Camille Turner is profiled on CBC's Art is My Country. The profile discusses Camille's archival research of Canada's history of slavery, her walking practices, and Afrofuturism.

The CBC profile features BlackGrange, Turner's audio walking tour commissioned by WalkingLab, and performed live in Toronto in March, 2018.

https://watch.cbc.ca/media/art-is-my-country/season-1/episode-9/38e815a-00e8dab1b1e

 

About BlackGrange:

From the perspective of a fictional time traveler, BlackGrange is a walking tour that re-thinks and re-imagines the present by illuminating histories of the African Diaspora in Toronto’s Grange neighbourhood. The project, commissioned by WalkingLab was produced by Canadian artist Camille Turner. Using google maps and a mobile device walkers can access the tour virtually. The walking tour was launched in a one-time live event in early March. More than 100 people joined the 90 minute walk on a crisp but sunny winter’s day.

BlackGrange intervenes in the logics of official archives. Archives falsely describes Canada as a country committed to multiculturalism and benevolence. The dominant narrative of Blackness presents Canada as a safe place that welcomes racialized others. This logic of goodwill, Katherine McKittrick (2007) argues, “conceals and/or skews colonial practices, Aboriginal genocides and struggles, and Canada’s implication in transatlantic slavery, racism, and racial intolerance” (p. 98). The production of Canada as a White state is indebted to the erasure of Blackness.

BlackGrange not only re-maps this erased and forgotten history onto the Canadian landscape, it also questions the mechanisms that enable this ongoing erasure. McKittrick (2007) states that while Canada’s mythology has been shaped by the idea of fugitive American slaves finding freedom and refuge in Canada, Black feminism and Black resistance are “unexpected and concealed” (p. 92). Black people arrived in Canada via multiple means, not just as a passage into ‘freedom;’ and as Turner’s walking tour makes explicitly clear, Canada also legalized the enslavement of Black people.

Blending archival material, Afrofuturism, and performance, Turner pieced together fragments that existed of Black history in Toronto, with speculative fiction, performance, meditation, ritual gestures, and song. Afrofuturism and speculative fiction envisions an alternative world or future, where time, space, bodies, and behaviours are defamiliarized, ruptured, or expanded. BlackGrange resists the reading of Black history exclusively as violent or traumatic.

Photos by Anise Truman

Live Performance of BlackGrange

From the perspective of a fictional time traveler, BlackGrange is a walking tour that re-thinks and re-imagines the present by illuminating histories of the African Diaspora in Toronto’s Grange neighbourhood. The project, commissioned by WalkingLab was produced by Canadian artist Camille Turner. Using google maps and a mobile device walkers can access the tour virtually. The walking tour was launched in a one-time live event in early March. More than 100 people joined the 90 minute walk on a crisp but sunny winter’s day.

BlackGrange intervenes in the logics of official archives. Archives falsely describes Canada as a country committed to multiculturalism and benevolence. The dominant narrative of Blackness presents Canada as a safe place that welcomes racialized others. This logic of goodwill, Katherine McKittrick (2007) argues, “conceals and/or skews colonial practices, Aboriginal genocides and struggles, and Canada’s implication in transatlantic slavery, racism, and racial intolerance” (p. 98). The production of Canada as a White state is indebted to the erasure of Blackness.

BlackGrange not only re-maps this erased and forgotten history onto the Canadian landscape, it also questions the mechanisms that enable this ongoing erasure. McKittrick (2007) states that while Canada’s mythology has been shaped by the idea of fugitive American slaves finding freedom and refuge in Canada, Black feminism and Black resistance are “unexpected and concealed” (p. 92). Black people arrived in Canada via multiple means, not just as a passage into ‘freedom;’ and as Turner’s walking tour makes explicitly clear, Canada also legalized the enslavement of Black people.

Blending archival material, Afrofuturism, and performance, Turner pieced together fragments that existed of Black history in Toronto, with speculative fiction, performance, meditation, ritual gestures, and song. Afrofuturism and speculative fiction envisions an alternative world or future, where time, space, bodies, and behaviours are defamiliarized, ruptured, or expanded. BlackGrange resists the reading of Black history exclusively as violent or traumatic.

Photos by Anise Truman

If you missed the live performance you can still take the audio tour. Visit: https://walkinglab.org/portfolio/blackgrange-walk/

BlackGrange

From the perspective of a fictional time traveler, BlackGrange is a self-guided walking tour that rethinks and re-imagines the present by illuminating histories of the African Diaspora in Toronto’s Grange neighbourhood.

Created by Camille Turner for WalkingLab.

To begin your walking experience, have this project page ready on a mobile device, and begin at University College (27 King’s College Circle). To start, simply click on each location’s image to begin the audio. Follow the map’s instructions to navigate the BlackGrange.

 

Composer/Sound Engineer: Ravi Naimpally
Singer: Quisha Wint
Voices: Camille Turner and Alvin Luong
Photographer: Jalani Morgan
Models: Lee Turner and Stella Joseph

Indelible Refusal: Bodies, Performance, Walking Resistance starts Monday February 26th

This series of public lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, workshops, artistic walking interventions, performances, and master classes aim to actively engage in pedagogies of refusal and solidarity. The program aims to walk-with and think-with Indigenous, Black, 2 spirit, queer and trans artists and scholars to work through concepts related to land, settler colonialism, slavery, erasure, violence, and refusal.

Monday February 26 2018

Tipi Confessions: A Research-Creation Laboratory (public lecture)
Kim TallBear
5 to 7 pm – Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College Street. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ENTRANCE IS ON ST. GEORGE. The theatre is wheelchair accessible and serviced by elevator from the St. George Street entrance of the Koffler Student Services Building.

Sponsored by the TechnoScience Research Unit and co-hosted by Sexual Diversity Studies
Moderated by Michelle Murphy
This event is free and open to the public.

Tipi Confessions is comprised of sexually-themed performances that take creative research methodologies to the stage. Three Indigenous women from the University of Alberta—Professors Kim TallBear and Tracy Bear, and social media maven Kirsten Lindquist produce several Tipi Confessions shows annually in Edmonton, across Canada, and internationally. With advising from University of Alberta drama faculty, and with mentoring from the original Bedpost Confessions™ in Austin, Texas, Tipi Confessions Indigenizes sexy storytelling and performance. The show is a key initiative of ReLab, a research-creation laboratory founded by Dr. TallBear at the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Foregrounding Indigenous analytics, standpoints, and contemporary practices, the ReLab produces research, performance, and art. With good relations in mind, that research and creative practice intersect two areas of inquiry, Indigenous sexualities and Indigenous “naturecultures.”

Tuesday February 27 2018

First Story (walking tour)
Meeting Place: 563 Spadina Ave (First Nations House, Borden Building North)
10:30 am to 1:00 pm – The walk will take place outside, regardless of weather. The walk will end at Hart House
This event is free and open to the public. Prior registration via Eventbrite.

This campus tour highlights the continuing history of Indigenous presence upon the lands that constitute University of Toronto’s St. George Campus. The stories, which constitute a history of fraught relations between this institution and the original persons (human and nonhuman) whom this institution has systematically displaced, are stories of loss and restoration, victory and sacrifice, hunger and satiation, and breakage and repair; they are inscribed upon these lands, sung by buried waters, written within the walls, and whispered by the ivy that clings to sedate stone and brick exteriors.

Insurgent Geology, Fugitive Life (seminar)
Kathryn Yusoff and Elizabeth Povinelli
2:30 to 4 pm – Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. W, Room 11-164.
Two readings will be shared prior to the seminar that will form the basis for discussion.
This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.Please email stephanie.springgay@utoronto.ca to register. There are limited spaces available.

Starting from how late liberalism and the Anthropocene unravel a set of normative discourses on agency and genealogy that cohered around (biocentric) life, this discussion turns to other durational fields of geology conceived through the concepts of geonotology (Povinelli) and geologic life (Yusoff). Focusing on the role of settler colonialism and the geologies of race in relation to New World/Old World/Newer World colonialism, we will explore some insurgent junctions in the tenses of Nonlife.

Karrabing Film Collective (screening and discussion)
Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams (2016) & Night Time Go (2017)
Karrabing Film Collective presents two of its most recent films, with Kim TallBear and Elizabeth Povinelli in conversation after the film screening
5 pm – Robert Gill Theatre 214 College Street
This event is open to the public.

Night Time Go (2017, 31:10). On September 19, 1943, a group of Karrabing ancestors escaped from a war internment camp and walked over 300 kilometers back to their coastal homelands in Northern Australia. Night Time Go is an exploration of the settler state’s attempt to remove Indigenous people from their lands during the Second World War using truck, train, and rifle and the refusal of the Karrabing ancestors to be detained. The film begins by hewing closely to the actual historical details of this ancestral journey but slowly turns to an alternative history in which the group inspires a general Indigenous insurrection driving out settlers from the Top End of Australia. Mixing drama and humor, history and satire, Night Time Go pushes subaltern history beyond the bounds of settler propriety.

Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams (2016). Across a series of increasingly surreal flashbacks, an extended indigenous family argues about what caused their boat’s motor to break down and leave them stranded out bush. As they consider the roles played in the incident by the ancestral present, the regulatory state and the Christian faith, Wutharr: Saltwater Dreams explores the multiple demands and inescapable vortexes of contemporary indigenous life.

Following the screening of the two films, Professors TallBear and Povinelli will discuss the films and facilitate an open forum.

Wednesday February 28 2018

Indigenous Methodologies master class
Kim TallBear with with Professor Susan Hill
12-1 pm Centre for Indigenous Studies
Closed to the public.

Centre for Indigenous Studies and community lunch with Kim TallBear
1 to 2 pm – First Nations House, Borden Building North, 3rd Floor, 563 Spadina Ave
This event is open to the public.

Poetry reading and focus on creative research with Kim Tallbear and Gein Wong
2 to 3 pm – First Nations House, Borden Building North, 3rd Floor, 563 Spadina Ave
Everyone is welcome! This event is open to the public.

Desire and Change: Difficult Dialogues in Contemporary Art and Art Education (Master Class)
Stephanie Springgay and Audrey Hudson
5 – 8:00 pm Art Gallery of Ontario
Closed to the public.

This class will offer students a unique opportunity to engage with contemporary art with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) exhibitions on view and online resources. There will be a particular focus on artists who have historically been left out of conversations. The class will create a space of critical reflection and re-imagination, where difficult thought and theory are centred, embodied, mobilized, and take shape.

Thursday March 1 2018

Mapping Memory: Public Space as Archive (panel discussion)
Camille Turner and Cheryl Thompson
Moderated by Andrea Fatona

6 to 8 pm – Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. West, room 11-164
This event is open to the public.

Despite the many creative and inventive techniques used to walk and map place, the prevailing history of mapping is entrenched in Imperial and Colonial powers who use and create maps to exploit natural resources, claim land, and to legitimize borders. This talk examines counter-cartographical approaches to mapping, memory, and the archive in order to resist dominant power structures, question the assumptions that conventional maps produce, and recognize different spatial knowledge systems. Camille Turner and Cheryl Thompson will discuss their research into local archival material and Black history in Toronto while also challenging contemporary blackface and debates over public monuments in Canada.

Friday March 2 2018
Desire Paths: Poetic choreographies and the conversation of space finding
4 to 7:30 pm – Unit 2, 163 a Sterling Rd. [please note venue change] jes sachse (During Feb 26th-Mar 6th follow @squirrelofmystery on Instagram to peak inside the studio)

The event is free and open to the public. TTC tokens provided. To register, email jes.sachse@gmail.com (please include your access needs & any questions you might have. Note: this studio space is large enough for more than one wheelchair user to move in. We love you & your needs have been anticipated)

Panel discussion 4 to 5:30 pm:
Listen to a host of movers significant in developing the intersection of social justice & performance talk about the vital labour of radical space making, as they share secrets to space & resistance within their practices, and stories of favourite dance floor moments and movements.

DJ sets and dance floor 5:30 to 7:30 pm
At 5:30 we’ll dim the house lights and put on gels as we move from discussion to live DJ sets, in our experimental, physically accessible, ASL integrated dance floor. In a city where it costs money just to take a shit, come to a place where u dance & give none~
Curated by jes sachse and Golboo Amani

jes sachse will be in residence in the Leonard Common Room (LCR), Morrison Hall 75 St. George St. from 6 to 7 pm on Feb 26 – 28; March 3 to 6. Please drop by.

Saturday March 3 2018

BlackGrange (walking tour)
Camille Turner
Meeting Place: Lobby of University College, 27 Kings College Circle
2 to 5 pm
This event is free and open to the public. Prior registration via Eventbrite.

From the perspective of a fictional time traveler, Camille Turner’s BlackGrange rethinks and re-imagines the present by illuminating histories of the African Diaspora in Toronto’s Grange neighbourhood.

Monday March 5 2018

Our Continuing Relationship with the Humber River, An Evening with Balance Bringers, Drawing With Knives and Eventual Ashes (public lecture and performance)
Gein Wong
5 to 8 pm – Luella Massey Studio Theatre 4 Glen Morris St
This event is free and open to the public.

“We can tell you many things about Cobechenonk, but actually, we’d rather invite you to board one of our canoes and experience it for yourself.”  Sit down with us to talk about our work along the Humber River including the Cobechenonk Shadow Canoe Show.  The evening will include some video footage from the performance and live examples of our Shadow Puppetry work.

Tuesday March 6 2018

Finding Language: A Word Scavenger Hunt (walking event)
Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Meeting Place: Circulation Desk, OISE Library, 252 Bloor St. W.
3-4:30 pm
Free and open to the public. Register on Eventbrite.

I’ve lost my words. Some of them are stuck in little boxes in my brain – drawers that won’t open. Some of them are in the mouths of my Indigenous ancestors. Come with me while I search the OSIE library for these lost words and find some of your own along the way.

Queering Deep Time (Stone Walks: Edinburgh)

Queering Time Flags by Mary Tremonte
WalkingLab Edinburgh
Toby Sharp accelerating, 'Innov-reiki-ing,' and extolling the virtues of 'market-friendly' arts.
Baron Farquarson on the importance of surveillance cameras for community cohesion and safety.
Queering Deep Time
WalkingLab Edinburgh Walk
WalkingLab Edinburgh Walk
David Farrier discusses the North Sea's 'future fossils,' queering deep time.
Queering Deep Time Walk
Queering Deep Time
Al McGowan
Al McGowan points out fish in pavement
Queering Deep Time
Toby Sharp and Baron Farquarson accelerating, 'Innov-reiki-ing,' and extolling the virtues of 'market-friendly' arts.
Toby Sharp accelerating, 'Innov-reiki-ing,' and extolling the virtues of 'market-friendly' arts.
Queering Deep Time Walk
Queering Deep Time Walk
Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez
Rodrigo's Hernandez-Gomez's Art Intervention
Rodrigo's Hernandez-Gomez's Art Intervention
Photo by Erika Lesse.
Queering Deep Time flag by Mary Tremonte.

The concept of ‘Deep time’ was developed by Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726-1797), and coined as a term by the American author John McPhee. Hutton posited that geological features were shaped by sedimentation and erosion, a process that required timescales much grander that the arc of human history. Deep time displaces the human from conceptualizations of time, while the current crisis of the Anthropocene alarmingly re-centres it. Time, understood in the Anthropocene is utilitarian, regulatory, and measured. This time is chronological and grounded in a neoliberal progress narrative that reproduces itself. Here, progressive time is equated with humanist notions of freedom, rationality, peace, equality, and prosperity. This progressive time, however, is afforded to particular conceptualizations of humanity, where certain bodies and subjects are always rendered out of time.

WalkingLab’s event: Stone Walks Edinburgh: Queering Deep Time unsettled such understandings of time, investigating other ways of ‘thinking-with’ time, that entangles geos, bios, and Land. Queering Deep Time, performed a ‘walking tour’ through the city of Edinburgh, rupturing linear time through ‘pop up lectures,’ performances, and artistic interventions. The walk considered time as out of joint, relational, and material.

40 people joined the two hour tour on wet and cold February 3rd, 2018. WalkingLab commenced the tour with a short lecture on queering time, offering conceptualizations of time that are out of joint, indeterminate, and strange. After walking up the volcanic rocky hill towards the castle, Toby Sharp and Baron Farquarson led us through an ‘Innov-reiki’ session, where participants learned strategies for re-directing their energies into more ‘resilient, creative, and market-friendly’ practices. Capitalizing on accelerated time and market-driven urban planning, Toby and Baron’s three pop-up performances humorously interrogated the ways that creativity and the arts are harnessed for re-development.

After another short walk David Farrier, read a short excerpt from his forthcoming book Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, and discussed the deep earth nuclear storage facilities designed to remain secure for the next 100,000 years.

Further along our walking tour, outside of the National Museum of Scotland, Al McGowan, a pavement palenontologist, showed us fish fossils embedded in the sidewalk.

From there the walk towards the Meadows, where we heard from Toby and Baron about the Quartermile development project, a regeneration scheme in central Edinburgh.

Following this, Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez invited participants to consider Indigenous time, circular, ancestral, and situated. In the Meadows, the group paused to form a circle, and participate in Rodrigo’s project Seed Year, which draws on Nahua Indigenous concepts of Land and temporality. Seed Year calls for remembering all of our histories by hinting at the existence of a particular ‘time regime’ beginning from the year 1492, that we shall count in Gregorian Calendar years. The project offers a representation for each year occurred to ask ourselves how we each account for the way we experienced this particular time lapse: What is happening inside those years that escape our memory or even in those years that we are familiar with?

The walking tour ended at the University of Edinburgh, school of art, where Toby and Baron reflected on contributions by artists and art students to neoliberal urban renewal and surveillance.

Stone Walks Edinburgh: Queering Deep Time was generously hosted by Jonathan Wyatt and the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry, University of Edinburgh.

“Queering Time” pennants by Mary Tremonte.

Photographs by David Ben Shannon.

 

 

To the Landless

‘To the Landless’ – an artwork and walkinglab project by Dylan Miner – borrows its title from words spoken by eminent anarchist Lucia Gonzáles Parsons (commonly known as Lucy Parsons) at the founding convention of the Industrial Workers of World. As a womxn of African, Mexican, and Indigenous ancestry born in Texas, Gonzáles Parsons employed intersectional, anti-state, and anticapitalist activism throughout her life. In her writing and in her organizing, Gonzáles Parsons was often at odds with better-known anarchist Emma Goldman, herself born in Russia.

‘To the Landless’ asked people to join together on a casual walk through Chinatown and Kensington Market, traveling from Gallery 44, 401 Richmond Building, toward Goldman’s former house on Spadina. During the walk we conducted popcorn readings and imagined Gonzáles Parsons joining Goldman, who died in Toronto in 1940, for dinner near her house. Unable to separate history from the present and future, Miner asked us to walk with, converse with, and eat with these two contentious and important activists and thinkers. Conversations incited by the walk focused on the politics of settler-colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy, and immigration.

Presented as part of the exhibition What does one do with such a clairvoyant image?, hosted by Gallery 44 and Trinity Square Video, and curated by Leila Timmins, cheyanne turions and Jayne Wilkinson.

Photos by Sarah E. Truman

First Book Launch at University of Edinburgh

WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman will give a public lecture to launch the book Walking Methodologies in a more-than-human world: WalkingLab.

February 2nd, 2018

5pm

The Boardroom, Evolution House, Edinburgh College of Art

Hosted by the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry, University of Edinburgh

https://www.ed.ac.uk/health/research/ccri/ccri-events

ALSO, see the walk organized for the following day on Queering Deep Time: https://walkinglab.org/stone-walks-edinburgh-queering-deep-time/

Stone Walks Edinburgh: Queering Deep Time

Saturday February 3rd, 2018 2 pm

Meeting Place: Ross Fountain, located in West Princes St. Gardens, Edinburgh.

Please dress for the weather and wear walking shoes.

The concept of ‘Deep time’ was developed by Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726-1797), and coined as a term by the American author John McPhee. Hutton posited that geological features were shaped by sedimentation and erosion, a process that required timescales much grander that the arc of human history. Deep time displaces the human from conceptualizations of time, while the current crisis of the Anthropocene alarmingly re-centres it.

WalkingLab’s event: Stone Walks Edinburgh: Queering Deep Time unsettles such understandings of time, investigating other ways of ‘thinking-with’ time, that entangles geos, bios, and Land. Queering Deep Time, performs as a walking tour through the city of Edinburgh, rupturing linear time through ‘pop up lectures,’ performances, and artistic interventions. The walk considers time as out of joint, relational, and material.

Presentations by:

  • David Farrier, University of Edinburgh, The North Sea’s Future Fossils
  • Toby Sharp and Heather Mclean, University of Glasgow, Toby Sharp’s Edinburgh City Whisperer Tour, accompanied by Baron Farquarson and Lou Dear, University of Glasgow
  • Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez, Glasgow, Seed Year
  • Al McGowan, Edinburgh Geologist, Fish Fossils
  • WalkingLab, Queering Time – Walking-with

Stone Walks Edinburgh: Queering Deep Time is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and supported by the Centre for Creative Relational Inquiry, University of Edinburgh. For more information and descriptions of the pop up lectures and artistic interventions please visit: www.walkinglab.org: Contact: stephanie.springgay@utoronto.ca

 

Descriptions and Bios

David Farrier, University of Edinburgh, The North Sea’s Future Fossils

David Farrier is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of  Edinburgh. He has two books on deep time coming out in 2019: Anthropocene Poetics: Deep Time, Sacrifice Zones and Extinction will be published by the University if Minnesota Press; and Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils will be published by 4th Estate and Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The proposal for Footprints won the Royal Society of Literature’s Giles St Aubyn Award for non-fiction in 2017.

Heather Mclean, University of Glasgow, Toby Sharp’s Edinburgh City Whisperer Tour

Come explore Edinburgh with Toby, the urban city whisperer. As part of his global Toby Talk series, Professor Sharp of the Sharp Planetary Hub of Cross Pollination and Regeneration invites WalkingLab participants to join him in a collective and collaborative mobile investigation into urban regeneration in this historic city. Learn about the cross-pollination that happens every year at the Edinburgh Fringe and exciting new projects taking place in Leith including BAWBAG, a collaborative community sandwich building /yarn bombing hub. Envision possibilities for more participatory, competitive and market-friendly planning and re-development with IT companies and banks.  And learn about Toby’s INNOV_REIKI tool-kit (Reiki in auld Reekie), strategies for re-directing our energies into more resilient, creative and market-friendly community arts projects. Let’s bring a buzz to our collective hub!

Heather Mclean’s research links critical urban geography and queer and feminist theory with action research practices in the areas of cultural policy and urban artistic interventions. She examines how culture-led regeneration and ‘creative city’ strategies ‘revamp’ cities for investment, arguing that a private sector-friendly framing of culture routinely degrades urban cultural ecologies by excluding non-profit and artist-run organisations; especially spaces that support underrepresented artists of colour, women artists, and radical activist practice. Analysing the connections between culture-led regeneration planning, cuts to public services, and public space activism in Toronto and Glasgow especially, she draws on intersectional and praxis-oriented feminist geography to explore how grassroots community arts organisations challenging market and bureaucratic structures catalyse their own forms of engagement. Heather is an Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leader based at the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.

Heather’s alter-ego character Toby Sharp is a homage to the planning consultants she encountered when she was employed as a community planner in Toronto. In this work, Heather often had to work with a confident cadre of well-dressed, white male urban experts spearheading and overseeing “creative” regeneration strategies. These men consistently seemed to lack any awareness of the structural causes of poverty and the gender, race and class implications of regeneration projects removing low income, disabled and racialized communities, as well as seniors and single parents out of neighbourhoods to make space for arts facilities catering to middle class professionals. Heather has performed Toby as part of Dirty Plotz, a feminist cabaret born out of what performance artist and theorist refers to as “induced inventiveness…a tactical culture of collaboration” (Cowan, 2017).

Lou Dear is a writer and researcher based in Glasgow. They are currently Research Assistant in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. Lou’s interests include colonial and postcolonial literature and theory, decolonisation and education, queer performance, and creative writing.

Baron Farquarson is Professor of Organic Corporation Engineering and Chancellor of the University of Strathbane. He appeared with Professor Toby Sharp at the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Conference 2017 where they discussed, among other topics, the future of the feminism and the university / arms industry.

Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez, Seed Year

Seed Year is a project consisting of 525 figurines made up of modular plastic 3D-printed, clay hand-modeled and raw mineral parts. Working from Nahua indigenous concepts on Land and temporality, the project engages in advancing a material and discursive vocabulary on ‘time regimes’ – creating artworks that hint at how non-linear ‘time regimes’ are mixed in with our relationship to the Land. In this regard, Seed Year calls for remembering all of our histories by hinting at the existence of a particular ‘time regime’ beginning from the year 1492, that we shall count in Gregorian Calendar years. The project offers a representation for each year occurred to ask ourselves how we each account for the way we experienced this particular time lapse; What is happening inside those years that escape our memory or even in those years that we are familiar with?

Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez is an artist born in Axochco, Mexico City. He currently lives and works in Glasgow.

WalkingLab (Stephanie Springgay & Sarah E. Truman), Queering Time – Walking-with

WalkingLab’s walking lecture will examine the relationship between walking and time. Counter to understandings of time as a moving forward, as progress narratives and accelerationism, queer time unravels linear models of futurity, disrupting the idea that the future will simply replace the past. Queer time unsettles the normative historicity associated with time. Here time is out of joint, it flexes, is stretchable and speculative. Walking-with as an event of queer time is a form of solidarity, unlearning, and critical engagement with situated knowledges. Walking-with demands that we forgo universal claims about how humans and non-humans experience walking, and consider more-than-human ethics and politics of walking.

WalkingLab’s book is out!

Walking Methodologies in a More-than-Human World: WalkingLab, is out!

Here’s the blurb:

As a research methodology, walking has a diverse and extensive history in the social sciences and humanities, underscoring its value for conducting research that is situated, relational, and material. Building on the importance of place, sensory inquiry, embodiment, and rhythm within walking research, this book offers four new concepts for walking methodologies that are accountable to an ethics and politics of the more-than-human: Land and geos, affect, transmaterial and movement. The book carefully considers the more-than-human dimensions of walking methodologies by engaging with feminist new materialisms, posthumanisms, affect theory, trans and queer theory, Indigenous theories, and critical race and disability scholarship. These more-than-human theories rub frictionally against the history of walking scholarship and offer crucial insights into the potential of walking as a qualitative research methodology in a more-than-human world. Theoretically innovative the book is grounded in examples of walking research by WalkingLab, an international research network on walking (www.walkinglab.org).

The book is rich in scope, engaging with a wide range of walking methods and forms including: long walks on hiking trails, geological walks, sensory walks, sonic art walks, processions, orienteering races, protest and activist walks, walking tours, dérives, peripatetic mapping, school-based walking projects, and propositional walks. The chapters draw on WalkingLab’s research-creation events to examine walking in relation to settler colonialism, affective labour, transspecies, participation, racial geographies and counter-cartographies, youth literacy, environmental education, and collaborative writing. The book outlines how more-than-human theories can influence and shape walking methodologies and provokes a critical mode of walking-with that engenders solidarity, accountability, and response-ability.

This volume will appeal to graduate students, artists, and academics and researchers who are interested in Education, Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, Affect Studies, Geography, Anthropology, and (Post)Qualitative Research Methods.

The Red Line Labyrinth

Walis Johnson collaborated with WalkingLab to enact a Red Line Labyrinth as part of her ongoing research into Redlining in New York City.

Can an artist intervention translate contested spatial and racial narratives that define the real and imagined landscape of New York? The Red Line Project brings together discursive, often unruly and seemingly disconnected fragments of the artist’s research and family history of property ownership in Brooklyn. Through an examination of this material and visual culture the past is made visible in the present. As part of an on-going exploration of walking as research practice and the historical legacy of U.S. Federal Home Owners Loan Corporation’s 1938 Red Line Map, artist Walis Johnson has created a community participatory walk — The Red Line Labyrinth — that builds upon these resonant themes to address the relationship between present-day political urgencies including gentrification, displacement and the historic practice of race-based, real estate redlining.

About The Red Line Labyrinth

Solvitur ambulando is a Latin term which means “it is solved by walking” and is used to refer to a problem which is solved by a practical experiment. When carrying the burdens of the past, our relationships suffer and our creativity is limited. Myths of the American Dream and “bootstrap” economics often obstruct dialogue about the reality of our social and economic lives impacted by the racial and economic discriminatory mapping process of redlining, which are multilayered, structural and systemic.The artist invites local residents to walk as we contemplate together the long and pernicious legacy of redlining to see what insights or solutions might emerge. How might we begin to “re-map” or create a “new” geography and collective record of New York urban space that is inclusive and empowering for black people, working class, communities of color and the community at large? The Red Line Labyrinth may help provide new answers and, perhaps, a way forward.

The Labyrinth was presented as part of Weeksville Weekend, a day-long monthly open house for the general public.

Editor – Walis Johnson
Cinematography – Teodora Altomare

Contact: walktheredline@gmail.com

This project was made possible in part by funding and support from Culture Push, Inc.

Stone Walk on the Bruce Trail: Queering the Trail

Stone Walks on the Bruce Trail is a WalkingLab event that convened on the Chedoke to Iroquoia Heights loop trail, a 9-km section of the Radial Trail and Bruce Trails. The event brought together more than 70 walkers to think-with the geologic force of this place. The 4-hour walk was punctured by ‘pop up’ lectures by geologists, activists, and indigenous scholars and activated by a local arts collective TH&B, who critically intervened with typical ways that walkers use these trails.

Walking where the Chedoke Radial Trail and Bruce Trail merges in Hamilton, Ontario is a journey through a geological ecology that was shaped over 30 million years. Approximately 450 million years ago, during the Ordovician period, the area now known as the Niagara Escarpment was covered by sea teaming with coral and invertebrates, including molluscs and arthropods. The escarpment was shaped by sediments deposited on top of the sea floor that over eons became the sedimentary rock, shale, sandstone, and dolostone we see today. Many of the layers are comprised of visible fossils of coral, sea sponges, and brachiopods.

WalkingLab has been thinking-making-doing research that seeks to queer walking practices that govern bodies including landscapes. Queer is used in a general sense as odd and strange, and in a specific sense of referring to LGBTQ identities. Queer has been used to unsettle norms and hierarchies of humanness. The meaning of queer or ‘to queer’ continues to move, probe, and shift beyond individual gender or sexual orientation markers, and towards a more complex understanding of queer that doesn’t only represent particular kinds of queer bodies.

However, when viewed through this framework the queer identity and the ability to queer is tied to Western rational individualism and the liberal humanist subject who can afford to be queer and to queer (consequently, tied to the liberal humanist subject who asserts their agency to queer or be queer). As such, we recognize the complex and intense ways that queer can affect Indigenous, racialized, and sexualized bodies.

WalkingLab’s event sought to disrupt the heteronormative, settler colonial ways in which walking is conventionally understood through three heteronormative tropes –the flaneur, the derive, and the romantic colonial long walk.

Presentations by:
• Dr. Katherine Wallace, University of Toronto (Geology)
• Kaitlin Debicki, McMaster University (Tree communication, Indigenous Knowledge)
• Randy Kay, McMaster University (Squatting and occupation of parklands)
• Dr. Bonnie Freeman, McMaster University (Indigenous Journey Methodology on Foot)
• TH&B Art Collective, Hamilton (Artistic Intervention)
• Hiking badges & pennants by artist Mary Tremonte which were handed out to those who completed the walk. You can purchase a pennant on Mary’s Etsy page!

Co-sponsored by Hamilton Artists Inc.

Event photography by Anise Truman

Article in Body & Society: A Transmaterial Approach to Walking Methodologies Embodiment, Affect, and a Sonic Art Performance

WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay & Sarah E. Truman have an article out in Body & Society:

A Transmaterial Approach to Walking Methodologies Embodiment, Affect, and a Sonic Art Performance. Here is the Abstract:

Bodily methodologies that engage with the affective, rhythmic, and temporal dimensions of movement have altered the landscape of social science and humanities research. Walking is one such methodology by which scholars have examined vital, sensory, material, and ephemeral intensities beyond the logics of representation. Extending this rich field, this article invokes the concept trans to reconceptualize walking research through theories that attend to the vitality and agency of matter, the interconnectedness between humans and non-humans, the importance of mediation and bodily affect, and the necessity of acknowledging ethico-political responsibility. While theoretical and empirical research about embodied, emplaced, and sensorial relations between moving bodies and space are well developed in the field of walking studies, their entanglements become profoundly altered by theories of trans – transcorporeality, transspecies, and transmaterialities. Taking up trans theories we experiment in thinking-with a sonic art performance, Walking to the Laundromat, which probes bodily, affective, and gendered labour. (Download PDF)

Queering the Trail Artwork by Mary Tremonte

Our colleague and friend, Mary Tremonte at Just Seeds, created Queering the Trail pennants and badges for WalkingLab. You can purchase badges on Mary’s Etsy site and support a queer feminist activist’s work.

WalkingLab has been thinking-making-doing research that seeks to queer walking practices that govern bodies including landscapes. When we say ‘queer’ we use in a general sense as odd and strange, and in a specific sense of referring to LGBTQ identities. Queer has been used to unsettle norms and hierarchies of humanness. The meaning of queer or ‘to queer’ continues to move, probe, and shift beyond individual gender or sexual orientation markers, and towards a more complex understanding of queer that doesn’t only represent particular kinds of queer bodies.

However, when viewed through this framework the queer identity and the ability to queer can be tied to western rational individualism and the liberal humanist subject who can afford to be queer and to queer (and consequently, tied to the liberal humanist subject who asserts their agency to queer or be queer). As such, we recognize the complex and intense ways that queer can affect Indigenous, racialized, and sexualized bodies.

WalkingLab’s events seek to disrupt the heteronormative, settler colonial ways in which walking is conventionally understood through three heteronormative tropes –the flaneur, the derive, and the romantic colonial long walk. As white settlers we don’t use the term ‘decolonize’ for our efforts to disrupt normative practices of walking, but rather use unsettle, and queer: two terms we feel we can walk-with in our research.

WalkingLab’s ongoing efforts to Queer the Trail are significant because they emphasize the speculative and experimental potential of walking as research, while simultaneously attending to the complexities of subjectivities, mobilities, and situatedness.

 

 

Red Line Labyrinth

Walis Johnson is collaborating with WalkingLab to enact a Red Line Labyrinth.

Can an artist intervention translate contested spatial and racial narratives that define the real and imagined landscape of New York? The Red Line Project brings together discursive, often unruly and seemingly disconnected fragments of the artist’s research and family history of property ownership in Brooklyn. Through an examination of this material and visual culture the past is made visible in the present. As part of an on-going exploration of walking as research practice and the historical legacy of U.S. Federal Home Owners Loan Corporation’s 1938 Red Line Map, artist Walis Johnson has created a community participatory walk — The Red Line Labyrinth — that builds upon these resonant themes to address the relationship between present-day political urgencies including gentrification, displacement and the historic practice of race-based, real estate redlining.

About The Red Line Labyrinth

Solvitur ambulando is a Latin term which means “it is solved by walking” and is used to refer to a problem which is solved by a practical experiment. When carrying the burdens of the past, our relationships suffer and our creativity is limited. Myths of the American Dream and “bootstrap” economics often obstruct dialogue about the reality of our social and economic lives impacted by the racial and economic discriminatory mapping process of redlining, which are multilayered, structural and systemic.The artist invites local residents to walk as we contemplate together the long and pernicious legacy of redlining to see what insights or solutions might emerge. How might we begin to “re-map” or create a “new” geography and collective record of New York urban space that is inclusive and empowering for black people, working class, communities of color and the community at large? The Red Line Labyrinth may help provide new answers and, perhaps, a way forward.

Walk Schedule

Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 3-6 pm
Weeksville Heritage Center
158 Buffalo Avenue (between Bergen and Dean Streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11213

The Labyrinth is presented as part of Weeksville Weekend,
a day-long monthly open house for the general public.
Admission is free!

Contact: walktheredline@gmail.com

Artist Bio

Walis Johnson is a multidisciplinary artist/researcher and educator whose work documents the experience and poetics of the urban landscape through oral history and ethnographic film, performance and artist walking practices. She is particularly interested in the intersection of documentary film and performance. Her practice consists of multiple works, in a range of different media, grouped around specific themes and meanings. Walis has an MFA from Hunter College in Intergrative Media and Documentary Film and taught at Parsons School of Design. She has extensive experience in policy and philanthropy, collaborating with community-based organizations citywide, in San Francisco and nationally.

 

This project is made possible in part by funding and support from Culture Push, Inc.

Stone Walks: The Affective Time of Volcanic Rock

Time is conventionally understood as chronological. Geologic time is scored in the strata and layers of rock that compose the earth. Land is etched with beginning and end dates that tick out a metered understanding of life. Walking-with volcanic rock and lava flows evokes other approaches to time that displaces linear time. Time becomes contemporaneous and tentacular – spreading out pastness, presentness, and futurity all at once.

Scholars like Eleni Ikoniadou (2014), Lisa Blackman (2012), and Patricia Clough (2010), who write about affective dimensions of media, note that what affect does to mediation is to push rhythm beyond a metric conceptualization towards rhythm “as an assemblage of tensions traversing all participating bodies-living or inanimate” (Ikoniadou, 2014, p. 152). Affect as force and intensity surfaces rhythmically, where rhythm is sensation, not metric chronological time.

Stone Walks lends to both a metric and an affective understanding of time. As metric, we might think of patterns and tempos marked out as feet touch the ground. But this is only one aspect of walking and time. This linear time normalizes bodies and space. Time progresses from one individual moment to the next shaping the past and the future. This is an orderly and sequential understanding of time. It also marks out an interior and an exterior understanding of bodies and place. But affect, surfacing, and vibration require time be conceived differently. This is time as indeterminate, instable, and intensive.

Stone Walks, like other affective mediations, are modes of expression that enable the insensible, incommensurate, indeterminate to be felt. Stone Walks opens us to a transmaterial ethics. Here, ethics is a recognition of

the inhuman, the insensible, the irrational, the unfathomable, and the incalculable that will help us face the depths of what responsibility entails. A cacophony of whispered screams, gasps, and cries, an infinite multitude of indeterminate beings diffracted through different spacetimes, the nothingness, is always already within us, or rather, it lives through us. (Barad, 2012, p. 218)

During their residency in Iceland, WalkingLab lead a series of Stone Walks on craters, lava tubes, lava fields, and through barren fields of bubbling mud pots. On the walks, we worked with local geologic information and knowledge and affective surfaces of place to consider a different conceptualization of time and the Anthropocene.

Queering the Trail (Iceland)

As walking researchers, we are aware of the ways that walking is commodified and normalized. Walking tours become an ‘easy’ means by which tourists can ‘experience’ a place. WalkingLab’s ongoing efforts of Queering the Trail are significant because they emphasize the speculative and experimental potential of walking as research, while simultaneously attending to the complexities of subjectivities, mobilities, and situatedness.

Queering the Trail as a concept for critical walking methodologies disrupts the all too common tropes of walkers drifting through the city or rambling along a country path, and the normative narratives that inscribe walking as healthy and meditative.

Walking can be overlooked in qualitative research because of its ablest Euro-Western history or because it is assumed to be uncritical. Likewise, with the increasing advancement and turn to digital technologies, walking is marginalized because of its pedestrian and everyday nature. Conversely, walking can be romanticized as a method to counter technology, and conceptualized as a practice of ‘returning’ to something ‘more-human and more-embodied.’

WalkingLab collaborator David Shannon lead a series of Queering the Trail walks in Iceland. Dressed like a queer and dishevelled park ranger and carrying a hot pink Queering the Trail felt pennant, the walks use humour and the unexpected to disrupt the conventional flows of walking tours challenging the general public’s ideas of tourism, recreation, and the natural environment.

 

Walking the Water Strata

Roni Horn, an American artist who has worked in Iceland on various projects for 3 decades, created a permanent installation in an old library in the town of Stykkisholmur, on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Western Iceland. Vatnasafn/Library of Water consists of 24 glass columns containing water collected from ice from 24 glaciers in Iceland. On the floor, is another project You are the Weather, a text based project listing weather related words, descriptions, and poetic metaphors (in Icelandic, English and German). As one moves between the water filled columns, light reflects onto the floor, and the glass columns reflect and warp the landscape. Often Iceland feels like its composed entirely of weather.

On the ground floor of the building is a writer’s studio. American writer Rebecca Solnit – whose work on walking and the environment has influenced many walking researchers – was the inaugural writer-in-residence.

WalkingLab has developed a series of water walks in Iceland. While Horn’s library archived glacial ice-water, WalkingLab’s walking research is interested in walking-with the geothermal water strata of Iceland.

Water walks took us through Horn’s exhibition and then onto Deildartunguhver, the largest hot spring in Iceland. In Deildartunguhver the 100°C water bubbles from the ground at 180 litres per second. This hot water is piped 74 kilometers south and is a main source of heating in Iceland. From there, the water walks lead us to the oldest ‘hot pot’ in Iceland – an outdoor hot pool – in Reykolt. It was built by medieval poet and historian Snorri Sturluson in the 1100s.

Stratigraphy is the study of layers of matter accumulated through geological and biological processes. Strata walks creatively re-interpret topological information to imagine how humans and nonhumans will move-with and engage-with, in this case, water. Toxins, air pollution, radiation, and micro-particles of water mark strata layers of the Anthropocene.

Water walks mapped the strata of Iceland’s geothermal water. In Myvatn the ‘hot springs’ are human-made. The water comes from the National Power Company station in Bjarnarflag. The water has a temperature of about 130°C when it arrives to the huge basin beside the lagoon itself forming an impressive, man-made hot spring. Altogether, the lagoon and the basin contain around 3.5 million litres of water with a temperature of 36 – 40°C.

Human-made ‘hot pots,’ as they are often called, are an important feature of Icelandic culture. Some, like the lagoon in Fludir and the hot river in the Reykjadalur valley are ‘natural.’ The lagoon in Fludir is one of the oldest bathing spots in Iceland dating from 1851. Fludir was one of the first places for swimming lessons in the early 1900s. Today, the lagoon has changing rooms and a café, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals. The sulfuric water typical in hot pots is considered therapeutic.

Water walks also mapped a steam spring called a fumarole. These volcanic hot springs in the Hveraröndor Hverir region in North Iceland emit steam and gases. The steam forms when superheated water vaporizes as its pressure drops when it emerges from the ground. Here the land is utterly sterile and acidic, too toxic for any vegetation to grow. In the geothermal field in Haukadalur we walked-with the geyser Strokkur who spouts every few minutes, sometimes to a height of 40 meters.

Astrida Neimanis’ hydro-logics are ethically-politically attuned to how water – as power – flows through, across, and between human and more-than-human bodies politically, socially, and environmentally. Neimanis (2009) writes, “our bodies of water open up to and intertwine with the other bodies of water with whom we share this planet—those bodies in which we bathe, from which we drink, into which we excrete, which grace our gardens and constitute our multitudinous companion species” (p. 162-163).

Water – hot, glacial, fresh, or gaseous – is an extractable resource in Iceland. The glaciers and rivers of the interior of the country are harnessed to generate 80% of the country’s electricity needs through hydropower, while the geothermal fields provide up to 20% of the country’s electricity needs. Harnessing the energy comes via the remarkably simple method of sticking a drill in the ground near one of the country’s 600 hot spring areas, and using the steam that is released to turn the turbines and pump up water that is then piped to nearby settlements.

Walking-with the geothermal water in Iceland WalkingLab’s stratigraphy maps the flow of water between bodies. As an ethico-political tending walking demands that we respond beyond systems of management, containment, and concealment, to think-with the affective entanglements of which we are all apart.

 

 

Navigation Walk: Cairns

All throughout Iceland are heaps of stones perched on mountains or peppered along vast plains. They are called steinvarða (cairns). Cairns were typically built as landmarks along hiking paths, and were important for people to find their way through Iceland’s diverse landscapes long before the age of GPS.

The practice of building cairns goes back centuries; the first Icelandic settlers from the 9th and 10th centuries used cairns to mark their way on expeditions around the country. The history of the cairn is similar to the Indigenous practice (from Greenland to Alaska) of building Inuksuk for navigation, or to mark fishing places, hunting grounds or important places on the land.

In recent years hikers have begun to build new cairns on mountaintops or hills for ‘fun.’ While this has become a common practice, the Icelandic Environmental Agency has asked people to stop doing it for two reasons: firstly, building new cairns can confuse travelers; and secondly, removing rocks to build cairns for fun disturbs the landscape for no reason.

WalkingLab recently walked along a cairn route near Myvatn, in Northern Iceland. The cairns mark the way across somewhat desolate yet beautiful landscape full of the remains of lava fields complete with lava ropes swirled on the ground.

‘Weathering’

In Iceland, the saying is: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes!”

In this post, rather than focus on the types of weather we’ve experienced in Iceland (although yesterday we stood in a high valley with a group of walkers and watched clouds blow in from the fjord, and swirl around and envelop us with in a matter of minutes!) we discuss the concept of weathering.

Of interest to us is weathering as the erosion and breaking down of rocks, soil, and minerals as well as wood and artificial materials through contact with the earth’s atmosphere, waters, and biological organisms including human toxicity.

Further, is the idea that ‘we are weather bodies.’ Here we draw on writing by environmental humanities scholar Astrida Neimanis who re-orients weather from being distant and separate from humans, to an understanding of weather that is intimate and entangled.

One of the issues with understanding weathering in both examples, is scale. Humans find it difficult to relate to issues, such as climate change, because it is sensible at other scales.

The artist Roni Horn’s photo-based project You are the Weather, is a series of close-up portraits of a woman emerging from a geothermal pool in Iceland. The images reflect the intimacy of weather, as told through the woman’s facial expressions.

Troubling Landscape & Nation through ‘walking-with’

Landscape is typically approached through dominant national narratives of wilderness, remoteness, and empty space. As a backdrop for walking and tourism, landscape is presented as innocent and pure.

Tourism, in countries like Iceland, is motivated by the ideals of reconnecting people with landscape and nature, often to enjoy its beauty and untainted aesthetics. ‘Getting back to nature’ becomes a way for individuals to overcome environmental problems, typically associated with cities and dense populations. Landscape often sits outside of environmental concerns. Walking is often positioned as a way of connecting with landscape, and as a more environmentally sustainable solution, but fails to consider its role in White settlers’ claim to land. Similarly, landscape or ‘nature’ art becomes a stand-in for environmental engagement.

Environmental educator and scholar, Karen Malone (2016) writes that current Anthropocentric beliefs postulate that humans are not nature, that humans used to be better connected to nature, and that humans can dominate nature. She notes that current educational environmental reforms are predicated on these Anthropocentric beliefs. Further, Malone critiques the settler colonial approach to education that advocates for nature-based learning that continues to privilege whiteness, heteronormativity, and ableist understandings of ‘the natural world.’ Families and communities who don’t engage with particular forms of nature-based learning are seen to be deficit “for denying their children from having this restorative, nature-rich childhood” (p. 44). WalkingLab has been discussing as we walk through Iceland’s landscapes, that such problematic understandings of nature and landscape continue to promote particular versions of citizenship, nationalism, and belonging where some bodies are already marked as inhuman, unnatural, and out of place in nature. Malone writes: “[N]ature is constructed as a cleansing system, where white bodies can escape the negative consequences of urban industrialism and reclaim identities of innocence” (p. 360).

We’ve been considering this proposition: How might walking-with interrupt dominant ideologies associated with landscape? as a concern to think-with during our walking residency in North Iceland. Working with a group of walkers, we examine the ways that education, tourism, and walking can address environmental issues and the construction of national identities.

Malone, K. (2016). Reconsidering children’s encounters with nature and place using posthumanism. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 32(1), 42-56.

Mulakolla: walking-with ‘energy’

WalkingLab lead a walk into the valley beneath the mountain range Mulakolla, in North Iceland. Our walk focused on the concept of ENERGY. Group discussions and readings responded to growing
concerns about climate change and the unsustainability of the fuels we use to power our modern society. In addition to discussing how energy and environmental dilemmas are fundamentally problems of ethics, habits, imagination, values, institutions, belief, and power, the theme of energy included discussions about other forms of energy such as personal energy, healing energy, and collective practices of care.

We began the walk by posing to the group three propositions. Each walker responded by writing on small cards. These prompts were used to provoke a walking-discussion as we followed a mountain-fed stream. The three prompts were:

How do you understand energy?

Speculate on (a type) of energy for the future.

How does energy appear in your own practice?

As the group gathered high up in the valley an interesting cloud storm blew in over the fjord. At first the group thought that cloud and fog were rolling into the valley, but instead a swirl of cloud enveloped the valley swirling circularly just above our heads. The mountain peaks, valley floor, and even the view out to the ocean remained bathed in sunlight, while around us a thick, but wispy atmosphere swarmed. Captivated by this energy, the group descended, speculating on how energy is never destroyed, only changes form.

Public Performance Lecture on Walking

WalkingLab will give a public performance lecture Listhus Gallery in

Ólafsfjörður, North Iceland on August 19th at 5pm.

The performance will focus on WalkingLab’s walking ethos which incorporates group walking practices. In Iceland we have been leading a series of Itinerant Reading Salons on the themes of place, energy, and participation.

We will also discuss our approach to Queering the Trail which recognizes the deeply entangled relations of human, nonhuman, and the geologic. Queering the Trail not only challenges the nature-culture binary, it thinks otherwise about the relations between humans and nonhumans, land and geos.

Sound Walks on the Fjord

Today we took a walk to the end of the fjord and practiced listening with fellow artist-in-residence Michael McDermott. Michael is a sound artist and he explained some features of deep listening to us as we walked. He described different kinds of listening he works with: inclusive and exclusive listening, and not focusing on the naming or coding of sound. Exclusive listening pays attention to the whole sonic realm, while inclusive is listening to one specific sound. Further to this is listening for sound but trying not to name it or to bring it into language but rather allow it to remain as sonorous and as vibration and texture. These modes of listening and Deep Listening in general come from the work of Pauline Oliveros, who Michael has studied with.

Listen here for some samples from the ocean, birds and that stream we saw on our walk with Michael: https://soundcloud.com/soundoflistening/olafsfjordur

Michael also has an ongoing sonic project called ECHOZOO where he re-creates the sounds of extinct species.

WalkingLab has been researching and writing extensively on sound walks – for our forthcoming book with Routledge and a paper for Body & Society.

Walking and sound have increasingly been combined in order to explore the sonic ecologies of place. Soundwalks can take on many different forms and are known by many different names including soundscapes, sonic walks, and audio walks. One type of soundwalk includes the method of walking in silence, while paying close attention to ambient sounds.

Other types of soundwalks combine other methods with listening, such as recording devices, mapping practices, or reflective journaling to capture the experience and understanding of sound to a place. Researchers like Maggie O’Neill have combined walking interviews with ambient soundwalks in order to examine the ways in which borders and placed are shaped. On her research blog: Walking Borders. O’Neill discusses how the intersection of sounds from birds, the wind, and the ocean when combined with walking interviews reveal a more complex, embodied, and intimate understanding of a particular environment.

In addition to mobile listening and field recording practices, researchers and contemporary artists combine walking and sound to create what is commonly referred to as an audio or sonic walk. On an audio walk, participants listen to audio tracks, downloaded to their phones or other electronic devices, while being guided via the voice(s) on the audio track. Audio walks create a type of immersive environment and invoke a heightened sensory experience.

Walking Borders – by Maggie O’Neill

Check out Professor Maggie O’Neill’s research website: WalkingBorders that documents and shares the walks undertaken by O’Neill as part of her Leverhulme Research Fellowship.

The online research site documents walks in the form of a walking blog that includes maps, images, and sound files in order to contribute to understanding ‘borders, risk and belonging’ in the 21st century.

O’Neill’s project focuses on social justice impact of walking as a method across an interdisciplinary terrain, particularly for the arts and social sciences/sociology.

The Herring Girls

WalkingLab has been living in Ólafsfjörður, one of Iceland’s oldest fishing villages (the ‘industry’ is only 100 years old). The neighbouring village to the north-west, Siglufjörður, was once the second largest fishing port in all of Iceland.

WalkingLab spent time doing walking-research in what is now commonly called Siglo to understand the impact of the collapse of the herring industry on these northern fishing villages and the roll of women in the fishing industry. This walking research was important, because of the importance and impact fishing has on the local community. In order to understand the changing landscape and the place where we are living and walking for a month, we needed to know more about how fish are central to peoples lives in this part of Iceland. To do this walking research we spent time walking and talking with local residents and we visited the Herring Museum.

One of the places we visited was a building that formerly housed ‘The Herring Girls’ – young women who migrated from Norway and other places in Iceland to work in the fishing industry. The Herring Girls were gutters, cleaners, and salters who worked long hours on the docks when fishing boats arrived from shoals in the Greenland Sea.

The house we visited today would have had close to 50 girls living there during the summer season. The girls worked long hours because there was limited time in which herring was required to be salted. All of the work took place outside during the bright nights of the Icelandic summer. The Herring Girls were paid by output and so the quickest girls could actually make more money than some of the men who did different jobs on the dock.

The herring boom was in the 1940s, but by 1967 the herring had become nearly extinct in these waters.

The current town, which supports a few jetties and fewer than 30 boats, at once supported over 100 fishing companies, and on average 500 boats docked during the season.

We possibly passed 20 other tourists and 20 locals today, but in the hight of the fishing industry 1200 people could have been found on the docks working in long assembly lines of fish production.

Siglufjörður: Avalanche technologies

Today WalkingLab ventured over two mountains and two fjords to Siglufjörður a former herring industry outpost. Our first research-creation walking-with event followed a path that criss-crossed the steep rock faces that so that we could be amidst the new avalanche technologies.

In 1995, a severe avalanche destroyed most of this fishing village and 34 inhabitants died. The Icelandic government began to invest in new technologies, which would prevent such avalanche destruction in the future. In Iceland these fjords and valleys are important places and as such, the idea was not to move humans away from ‘nature’ but find a balance where both could co-exist.

Through our walking-with project we learned about three forms of avalanche technologies. The first are Deflecting Structures: where the landscape is reshaped so that avalanches slide away from the town to open plains. The second are Catching Dams: deep and fortified troughs of earth and rock have been created above the town to catch the sliding snow and debris. The third are Supporting Structures: located at the summit of the mountain where avalanches have the potential to form. Their metal structures stabilize the snow and rocks.

The design of these technologies in Siglufjörður won an architectural award because they neither scar the landscape nor have they been hidden. In fact, part of the tourism of this town centres on walking up to, across, and on the Catching Dams. Heather and lupins fold and grow among the dams along well-tred walking paths.

While walking and tourism conventionally promote pristine landscapes, aesthetic vistas, and the absence of human intervention, Iceland provides opportunities for those of us interested in researching the co-imbrication of humans and non-humans.

Over the past week, WalkingLab has had many interesting conversations with fellow artists-in-residence about these natureculture entanglements including: the dammed lake, avalanche technologies, and geothermal power. While some artists often seek ‘undisturbed’ landscapes, many of the artists at our residency are interested in both visible and invisible human-landscape intersections.

Walking in Iceland supports WalkingLab‘s research efforts to counter the colonial notion of terra nullius.

Fossdalur: Walking-with place

Everyone has a story about place. Places they have been. Places they hold fast in their memory. Places they would like to go. Invented places.

WalkingLab lead an Itinerant Reading Salon today on the theme of PLACE. The walk navigated the coastline of the fjord, towards the lighthouse. At the lighthouse we could see Grimsy Island, which marks the arctic circle, and we watched whales jump and splash. At the start of the trail we met a local man who told us some stories about his family home. Most houses in small towns in Iceland have proper names. At the entrance to Kleifar, the town where we started the walk, was a sign with a map. Each house was labeled and located on the map (as opposed to numbered addresses). The Icelandic man talked about his family home’s name, which when translated means: “where the plain meets the river.”

On the walk we posed questions to our group of walkers:

What is a place? What does place mean? How does place matter? How do Land, geology, geography, borders, strata, and topology create place?

We provided the group of walkers with small ‘books’ we had printed with excerpts of text (journal articles, poems, quotes, and narratives) on place, which we read along the route.

We talked about the collapse of the fishing industry in Ólafsfjörður, the town where the residency is located, in the North West of Iceland, and the current influx of tourists, and how these geographical and social contexts shape place.

The indeterminacy and emotional materializations of place became a focus of our discussions, as participants on the walk came from Northern Ireland, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. We discussed the intersections between walking and borders, desire lines through the landscape, forbidden places, liminality and possibility-in-fugutivity.

White Cane Amplified

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White Cane Amplified is Carmen Papalia’s improvised process in which he replaces his white mobility cane with a megaphone as he navigates an unfamiliar route in the city. White Cane Amplified is one in a series of related projects in which the artist temporarily adopts a new system for his mobility in an effort to reclaim a sense of agency while distancing himself from institutional support services. A demonstration, primarily, of failure, White Cane Amplified depicts Papalia performing the social function of the white cane, speaking into a megaphone as he stumbles to find the words to communicate his nuanced and emergent needs.

Papalia’ enacted White Cane Amplified for WalkingLab in July, 2017 in Vancouver and followed the performance with a talk at VIVO Media Arts Centre.

Drangar: Naturecultures

WalkingLab and artists from our residency in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland hiked into a valley above the town to a man-made lake. Themes discussed on the walk included scale – micro and macro – and natureculture.

The manmade lake has been dubbed the ‘Magic Lake’ by visitors to the region, when in fact it is a dammed river (dammed for personal use).

The natureculture tension brought on an animated conversation among our party: is the lake less beautiful because it is manmade? Who has the right to dam a river for personal use? What impacts does the dam have on the larger ecosystem? How can something manmade be ‘Magical’? When will humans admit that the world is natureculture: is there such a thing as nature untouched by ‘Man’?

WalkingLab Featured in Canadian Art

“What scaffolds, structures and supports exist for walking-based art and artists?” – Asks Leah Sandals in her article in Canadian Art featuring WalkingLab with interview comments from Stephanie Springgay:

The initial impetus for WalkingLab, Springgay says, “was less about increasing visibility” of walking and more about bringing together work that was already happening “inside and outside of the arts” in North America, the UK, Australia and beyond—as well as asking questions about that work, and its predominant emphasis on the cult of the individual.

“WalkingLab often uses the term ‘walking with,’” says Springgay. “Even if you do a walk with one other person, what does that mean? How do we put habits and thoughts and bodies in this frictional tension with each other? How do we tend to these different concepts up against or through walking?”

Read it here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stone Walks in Paris: The Catacombs

WalkingLab lead a series of Stone Walks in Paris examining the geosocial materiality of urban space in June, 2017.

On this walk we investigated the catacombs. The catacombs as we now know them were created in the 18th century in abandoned underground quarries that date back as early as the 12th century. These quarries, which extracted limestone, marl and gravel, beauchamp sand and other materials were dug out from beneath the city in order to build the Paris we all recognize above ground. Small plaques dot the walls of the tunnels, indicating street names and other directional signs from above ground. After centuries of extraction in the creation of Paris, the tunnels began to collapse and reinforcements were needed. In the 18th century the tunnels were reinforced and then filled with remains from the largest Parisian cemetery, ‘The Saints-Innocents.’ Subsequently, most major Parisian cemeteries and charnel houses moved their overflow of human bones to the catacombs.

The rock layers of the catacombs that we walked through (and are now ‘stratified’ with the remains of six million former Parisians) go back 45 million years and are carved out of limestone date from the Lutetian geological stage. The name Lutetian comes from the Latin name for Paris. The catacombs are what human geographer Kathryn Yusoff calls ‘earth archives’ – deep histories of naturecultures entanglement. Here Yusoff is using the term archive to note not only the layers of strata as you descend the 130 steps into the tunnels, but to emphasize the ways that human and geology are imbricated in one  another. “We are all archives” she states. The geosocial catacombs attest to the complicated histories of ‘stone’ that have constituted different becomings.

 

 

Stone Walks in Paris: Père Lachaise Cemetery

Oscar Wilde’s grave monument. Photo by Sarah E. Truman

 

WalkingLab lead a series of Stone Walks in Paris examining the geosocial materiality of urban space in June, 2017.

On this walk we perambulated through Père Lachaise Cemetery, a large garden cemetery in the east of Paris. Each year, Père Lachaise Cemetery has more than 3.5 million visitors and is consequently the most visited cemetery in the world. The cemetery was opened in the 1804 outside the city of what was then Paris, to attend to overcrowding of cemeteries within the precincts of the capital. The week it opened, Napoleon proclaimed, “Every citizen has the right to be buried regardless of race or religion,” and the first person buried was a 5 year old girl from a poor family. The cemetery now has the remains of over 1 million human bodies, and even more cremated remains.

This Stone Walk was inspired by the ornate headstones and the geosocial co-imbrication of some of our famous authors buried in the cemetery including Marcel Proust and Felix Guattari.

We spent a long time at Oscar Wilde’s monument which is a fabulous stone sculpture that was excavated as a 20 tonne block from Derbyshire, England and carved by Jacob Epstein in consultation with Eric Gill. The sculpture, like Wilde himself was controversial. Some people believed that Wilde (because of his ‘homoerotic’ tendencies) deserved no monument, while others championed to have him represented by something more mystical such as the sphinx-like winged messenger (who resembles Wilde) that now graces the cemetery and that people kiss frequently.

 

 

 

 

 

Walking to the Laundromat

Walking to the Laundromat

Audio Walk & Laundromat Service.

Concept and narrative by Rebecca Conroy
Sound design by Dan McHugh

Life can sometimes feel like a long laundry list that you struggle to get through. *Sigh. If this is you, doing the laundry can be a great opportunity to refocus on your core strengths and build resilience into your day.

Walking to the Laundromat is an audio walk that combines mindfulness practice with doing the laundry in an attempt to explain the interconnections between service economy, emotional capital, and affective labour from the perspective of the artists exceptional labouring body.

Listen to Walking to the Laundromat here!

On the Need for Methods Beyond Proceduralism: Speculative Middles, (In)Tensions, and Response-Ability in Research – Article

Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman have a new article out in Qualitative Inquiry: On the Need for Methods Beyond Proceduralism: Speculative Middles, (In)Tensions, and Response-Ability in Research.

Here’s the Abstract:

This article responds to agitations occurring in qualitative research related to the incompatability between methodologies and methods, the preponderance of methodocentrism, the pre-supposition of methods, a reliance on data modeled on knowability and visibility, the ongoing emplacement of settler futurity, and the dilemma of representation. Enmeshments between ontological thought and qualitative research methodologies have rigorously interrogated the logic of anthropocentrism in conventional humanist research methods and have provoked some scholars to suggest that we can do away with method. Rather than a refusal of methods, we propose that particular (in)tensions need to be immanent to whatever method is used. If the intent of inquiry is to create a different world, to ask what kinds of futures are imaginable, then (in)tensions need attend to the immersion, friction, strain, and quivering unease of doing research differently. (Download PDF)

70+ People on The Bruce Trail Stone Walk: Queering the Trail

Stone Walks on the Bruce Trail was a successful WalkingLab event that convened on the Chedoke to Iroquoia Heights loop trail, a 9-km section of the Radial Trail and Bruce Trails on April 1st, 2017. The event brought together more than 70 walkers to think-with the geologic force of this place. The 4-hour walk was punctured by ‘pop up’ lectures by geologists, activists, and indigenous scholars and activated by a local arts collective TH&B, who critically intervened with typical ways that walkers use these trails.

Walking where the Chedoke Radial Trail and Bruce Trail merges in Hamilton, Ontario is a journey through a geological ecology that was shaped over 30 million years. Approximately 450 million years ago, during the Ordovician period, the area now known as the Niagara Escarpment was covered by sea teaming with coral and invertebrates, including molluscs and arthropods. The escarpment was shaped by sediments deposited on top of the sea floor that over eons became the sedimentary rock, shale, sandstone, and dolostone we see today. Many of the layers are comprised of visible fossils of coral, sea sponges, and brachiopods.

WalkingLab has been thinking-making-doing research that seeks to queer walking practices that govern bodies including landscapes. Queer is used in a general sense as odd and strange, and in a specific sense of referring to LGBTQ identities. Queer has been used to unsettle norms and hierarchies of humanness. The meaning of queer or ‘to queer’ continues to move, probe, and shift beyond individual gender or sexual orientation markers, and towards a more complex understanding of queer that doesn’t only represent particular kinds of queer bodies. However, when viewed through this framework the queer identity and the ability to queer is tied to western rational individualism and the liberal humanist subject who can afford to be queer and to queer. And consequently, tied to the liberal humanist subject who asserts his or her agency to queer or be queer. As such, we recognize the complex and intense ways that queer can affect Indigenous, racialized, and sexualized bodies.

WalkingLab’s event sought to disrupt the heteronormative, settler colonial ways in which walking is conventionally understood through three heteronormative tropes –the flaneur, the derive, and the romantic colonial long walk.

Presentations by:
• Dr. Katherine Wallace, University of Toronto (Geology)
• Kaitlin Debicki, McMaster University (Tree communication, Indigenous Knowledge)
• Randy Kay, McMaster University (Squatting and occupation of parklands)
• Dr. Bonnie Freeman, McMaster University (Indigenous Journey Methodology on Foot)
• TH&B Art Collective, Hamilton (Artistic Intervention)
• Hiking badges & pennants by artist Mary Tremonte

Co-sponsored by Hamilton Artists Inc.

Event photography by Anise Truman

StoryWalks: History, Place and Identity on the Move in San Jose Japantown

How is walking storied? My walking research builds on the concept of walking as a blended methodology of art and social science. I am focusing on walking as narrative placemaking in the Japantown neighborhood in the city of San Jose, California, located in the United States San Jose Japantown in California is one of three remaining Japantowns in the United States, a town affected by the Japanese American internment of World War II that was implemented by President Roosevelt’s Executive Order Number 9066 in 1942 following the bombing attack on Pearl Harbor. This executive order called for the relocation of Japanese American citizens to be placed in Japanese internment camps across the United States, many of which were built in secluded desert-like areas. The numbers of effected citizens are estimated at around 110,000 who lived along the Pacific coastline.

San Jose Japantown is a significant community in the sense that out of 53 businesses that were forced into closure during internment, 40 businesses and 100 families reestablished themselves by 1947, three years following the revoked policy, 2014).

Overview by Dr. Kimberly Powell

I am pursuing movement along five threads collaborating artist PJ Hirabayashi and in cooperation with the Japanese American Museum of San Jose and artist Flo Oy Wong : 1). Walking tours of the museum docents, many of whom were evacuated and interned during the War; 2). Video walks with multi-generational community residents; 3). Ritualized and ceremonial walking (e.g., Obon festival and Day of Remembrance); 4). The relationship between walking, choreography and metaphors of migration in the resident, professional taiko drumming performance ensemble and cultural organization; and, 5) The creation of sensory walks that (re)sensitize people to experience place and walking.

We are working with videotape, cartographic methods, and audio recording in order to record these moving narratives and experimenting with different ways of presenting the work as interactive, public pedagogy of place. To date, I’ve recorded 20 StoryWalks with museum docents, residents, and those who call San Jose Japantown home (e.g., business owners), across generations.

Read Kimberly Powell’s Japantown BLOGS here on WalkingLab for more information on her research in 2016.

EVENT: Stone Walks on the Bruce Trail Hamilton (April 1st)

Join WalkingLab on the Bruce Trail in Hamilton, Ontario
April 1st, 2017 11am – 3pm (meet @ 10:45)

The 3 ½ hour loop trail will be activated by ‘pop up’ lectures and artistic interventions.

Presentations by:

• Dr. Katherine Wallace, University of Toronto (Geology)

• Dr. Kaitlin Debicki, McMaster University (Tree communication, Indigenous Knowledge)

• Randy Kay, McMaster University (Squatting and occupation of parklands)

• Dr. Bonnie Freeman, McMaster University (Indigenous Journey Methodology on Foot)

• TH&B Art Collective, Hamilton (Artistic Intervention)

• ALSO: Earn hiking badges and pennants by artist Mary Tremonte

Please meet in the Chedoke Civic Golf Course Parking Lot at 10:45. The walk commences promptly at 11 am.

We are walking the Hamilton Bruce Trail – Chedoke to Iroquoia Heights Loop and then returning on Scenic Drive Side Trail (https://www.trailforks.com/region/iroquoia-heights-12952/map/)

This trail ascends a gradual incline up the Escarpment and for most of the trail we walk on a gravel or a well-defined path. However there are sections that are harder to navigate. The walk is about 9km.

Wear appropriate footwear and bring water and lunch for yourself.

Co-sponsored by
Hamilton Artists Inc.

For more information, contact: sarah.truman@mail.utoronto.ca

NYC Geologic Walking Tour

WalkingLab was in NYC on a research trip meeting with walking artists and activists. We also had the opportunity to walk to some of the geologic sites highlighted in Elizabeth Ellsworth’s and Jamie Kruse’s (Smudge Studio) book Geologic City: a Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York.

On the walking tour we learned that the lions that guard the New York Public Library are made from a limestone that dates more than 46,000,000 years ago. The limestone is composed of fossilized ‘bryozoa’ which are aquatic animals.

While stone lions are often conceptualized as non-living substances, the geologic walking tour impressed upon us the quivering, more-than-human strata that make up city life.

Processions and Publics

Emelie Chhangur curated a large-scale 300 person street procession by Trinidadian artist Marlon Griffith. The 2 year project Ring of Fire consisted of multiple collaborations between various cultural organizations and groups in the Greater Toronto area. The culminating procession was staged at the Parapan American Games, August 9, 2015. Details about the collaborations, the procession, and the various Mas characters used in the procession can be found at the Ring of Fire official site.

Large-scale walking and immersive projects like Ring of Fire are often framed through discourses of participation and interaction. However, the dilemma of participation in contemporary art is that under the guise of collaboration, sociality, and inclusion participation becomes a method of appeasement as opposed to any real process of transformation.

Walkinglab‘s research complicates how we understand participation from a vital and materialist perspective, where to participate is an always already mode of encounter. Thus, participation as relation asks questions about the how of coming together and taking part, and as such offers new pedagogical and political modes of being.

Stone Walks (Iceland)

In August 2017 WalkingLab was in Iceland at Listhus Artist Residency executing a walking research-creation project in Iceland’s northern fjords and geothermal hot springs. The project examined rocks as a queer archives, ‘queered the trail, and ran series of Itinerant Reading Salons in different locations. Read WalkingLab‘s blogs about their time in Iceland: https://walkinglab.org/category/iceland-walkinglab-residency/

WalkingLab’s book is released by Routledge!

Walking Methodologies in a More-than-Human World: WalkingLab, co-authored by WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman  is out!

Here’s the book blurb:

As a research methodology, walking has a diverse and extensive history in the social sciences and humanities, underscoring its value for conducting research that is situated, relational, and material. Building on the importance of place, sensory inquiry, embodiment, and rhythm within walking research, this book offers four new concepts for walking methodologies that are accountable to an ethics and politics of the more-than-human: Land and geos, affect, transmaterial and movement. The book carefully considers the more-than-human dimensions of walking methodologies by engaging with feminist new materialisms, posthumanisms, affect theory, trans and queer theory, Indigenous theories, and critical race and disability scholarship. These more-than-human theories rub frictionally against the history of walking scholarship and offer crucial insights into the potential of walking as a qualitative research methodology in a more-than-human world. Theoretically innovative the book is grounded in examples of walking research by WalkingLab, an international research network on walking (www.walkinglab.org).

The book is rich in scope, engaging with a wide range of walking methods and forms including: long walks on hiking trails, geological walks, sensory walks, sonic art walks, processions, orienteering races, protest and activist walks, walking tours, dérives, peripatetic mapping, school-based walking projects, and propositional walks. The chapters draw on WalkingLab’s research-creation events to examine walking in relation to settler colonialism, affective labour, transspecies, participation, racial geographies and counter-cartographies, youth literacy, environmental education, and collaborative writing. The book outlines how more-than-human theories can influence and shape walking methodologies and provokes a critical mode of walking-with that engenders solidarity, accountability, and response-ability.

This volume will appeal to graduate students, artists, and academics and researchers who are interested in Education, Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, Affect Studies, Geography, Anthropology, and (Post)Qualitative Research Methods.

Table of Contents:

Forward: Patricia Clough and Bibi Calderaro

Introduction: Walking Methodologies in a More-than-Human world

Chapter One: Walking-with place through geological forces and Land-centred knowledges

Chapter Two: Sensory inquiry and affective intensities in walking research

Chapter Three: Transmaterial walking methodologies: Affective labour and a sonic walk

Chapter Four: An immanent account of movement in walking methodologies: Re-thinking participation beyond a logic of inclusion

Chapter Five: On the need for methods beyond proceduralism: Speculative middles, (in)tensions, and response-ability in research

Chapter Six: ‘To the landless’: Walking as counter cartographies and anarchiving practices

Chapter Seven: Reflective inversions and narrative cartographies: Disrupting outcomes based models of walking in schools

Chapter Eight: A walking-writing practice: Queer the Trail

Walking Propositions

The Propositional Walking Project features 20 curated propositions from artists and scholars around the world.

Curated by Sarah E. Truman for WalkingLab in 2014-2015.

Propositions differ from instructions; they are prompts at could be. As Whitehead says propositions are lures for feeling. 

Follow the links below to different artists’ and scholars’ ongoing projects and walking propositions:

AN IMPROVISED ROUTE 1&2
Walking Proposition by Frans van Lent

AUDIO WALK
Walking Proposition by Akoo_o Collective

CARRIER
Walking Proposition by Barbara Lounder

COYOTE WALK
Walking Proposition by Dillon de Give

EVAPORATION WALKS
Walking Proposition by Lori Esposito

FILM SOUNDTRACK
Walking Proposition by Tobias Grice

FUSE
Walking Proposition by David Watson

IT WAS A WALK
Walking Proposition by Alan Dix

KM2 WALK
Walking Proposition by Hamilton Perambulatory Unit (Donna Akrey, Taien Ng-Chan & Sarah E. Truman)

LOCATIONS
Propositional Walk by Jennifer Judge

MAPPING SENSES & MEMORIES
Walking Proposition by Ann Rapstoff & Vicky Vergou

PERIPATETIC INQUIRY
Walking Proposition by Alexandra Cutcher & Rita Irwin

PLANT-LED PROPOSITIONS
Walking Proposition by Natalie Doonan

QUESTION WALK
Walking Proposition by Phil Smith

RECORD RELEASE
Walking Proposition by Christof Migone

TEMPORARY LABYRINTH
Walking Proposition by Gestare Art Collective (Ingrid Rose, Barbara Bickel, Medwyn McConachy, Nané Jordan & Cindy Lou Griffith)

THE DEMOLITION PROJECT
Walking Proposition by Debbie Kent & Alisa Oleva

THE GUIDE TO GETTING LOST
Walking Proposition by Jennie Savage

ULTRASOUND
Walking Proposition by julia drouhin

WALKING AND SITTING
Walking Proposition by Ienke Kastelein

WALKING IN THEIR SHOES
Walking Proposition By Phil Wood

WOMEN WALKING IN MEMPHIS
Walking Proposition by Susan Naomi Nordstrom & Tegan Reeves

Extending Our Reach: Creating New Pathways Through Art, Research and Education

WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman will giving a workshop at University College Dublin’s College of Social Sciences and Law, in association with UCD Parity Studios and the School of Sociology.

The workshop is called Extending Our Reach: Creating New Pathways Through Art, Research and Education and will focus on WalkingLab and research-creation.

Public Lecture – Stephanie Springgay

WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay will give a public lecture entitled The primacy of movement in artist-residency projects in schools or How to make a classroom operate like a work of art?

5pm – Tue 11th Oct
Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD
Dublin, Ireland

Here is the abstract for the talk:

This presentation will contribute to the growing field of scholarship on movement in artist-residency projects. Particularly the paper considers how movement fundamentally disturbs boundaries, complicates and disrupts established relations, multiplies and creates immanent connections, produces the virtual, and extends the potential of the body in space. The presentation/paper expands on arguments about movement-sensation through social choreography in order to explore the relationship between movement and community. I consider how recent discussions of zootechnologies or swarms, while resisting methods of analytical investigation, can offer new ways of thinking about collectivity and political subjectivity that is ontogenetic, indeterminate, and of an ‘ecology’ in
co-composition. Movement is germane to emerging posthumanist explorations within educational research, and a crucial component for re-imagining research-creation methodologies. Through affective thinking about movement and political-tendings, this paper highlights the productive connections and mattering available in artist-residency projects in schools.

Walking in Practice, Panel at the Elemental Festival, hosted by 4e Studio on Manitoulin Island

2:15 Saturday Oct 1st.
4e studio
91 Main Street in Kagawong

WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay will be part of a panel on walking in practice this October on Manitoulin Island, Ontario.

Here is the blurb for the talk:

Join a discussion with a diverse panel of local and visiting artists, researchers, and community members, who have been working with walking as their focus. What is the significance of walking as a mode of inquiry or research? What role does walking play in a vibrant creative practice? How can walking overturn our habitual ideas about relation to place and community?

Panelists:

Madhur Anand (Univeristy of Guelph)
Marlene Creates (artist, Nfld)
Joni Palmer (U Boulder)
Stephanie Springgay (University of Toronto, WalkingLab)
Chris Turnbull (writer/artist, Kemptville, ON)

WalkingLab Article – Stone Walks: inhuman animacies and queer archives of feeling

WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman have an article out in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education

Stone Walks: inhuman animacies and queer archives of feeling 

Abstract:

Excavating what Jeffrey Cohen [2015. Stone: An ecology of the inhuman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press] calls ‘lithic ecomateriality’, in this paper we illustrate how rocks have traditionally been conceptualized through three tropes: rocks as insensate; rocks as personified; and rocks as transformative. We take up the concept of inhuman to challenge human-centric taxonomies of rocks and animacy. If rocks are not lifeless, or only considered as ‘resources’ or ‘threats’, to humans, then thinking with rocks as vital extends our ethical and political response. In the final section of the paper, we consider archives, not as a logical form of organizing knowledge, but as material, vital, and affective. We argue that when stones and archives are examined as something more than stable things – as interfactual, transcorporeal, and transmaterial co-compositions – different ethical relatings to the inhuman world become possible. (Download PDF)

 

wreck-island

Touching Stone, Hearing Sculptures, with Ken Matsumoto

By Kimberly Powell

July 12-13, 2016

Two artist walks were conducted and produced by artists and preschool children in order to explore young children’s movement and material encounters through their urban neighborhood of San Jose Japantown, CA, USA. Preschool children’s daily walks are often characterized by rules and boundaries that, while established for perceived safety, can result in the taming of movement and encounters. In our walking project with preschool children, two artists, a preschool teacher, and I co-constructed artist walks that engaged children in sensory encounters with the preschool’s neighborhood. Japantown has a civic history rooted in the Japanese American internment of World War II beginning in 1942 (Presidential Executive Order 9066), and serves as a site of memorialization via cultural events, public and performing arts, and historic walking tours. One walk engaged children in the public art of a local stone sculptor while the other walk engaged them in soundscaping with a musician. An important dimension of both walks was the production of encounters through clay impressions, stone rubbings, choreographed movement, sound collection and production, child-generated video, and researcher documentation as a means of generating data not just for analysis but also for the production of further inquiry and play in the classroom. Some of the video captures what the walking activities look like from a child’s perspective. The video also serves children’s material production of movement through space and place.

Ken Matsumoto, a local stone sculptor, took the children on a walk to some of his public art works. First stop was the concrete blocks that Ken made many years ago. When we got there, the children climbed and touched the surfaces of the blocks covered in tiles that replicated children’s drawings from many years ago.

After playing on the blocks, we went and looked at a manhole cover. Ken discussed the ways in which artists in Japan have painted manhole covers in artful ways, and told them about his interest in painting one. We then stopped at a stone sculpture close to the Buddhist church. While there, we worked with exploring textures in the environment primarily through two art forms: clay impressions and rubbings. Working with “clay-dough” (a mixture of flour, water, salt and vegetable oil that can either be baked or air-dried), we pressed our clay into rocks, earth, metal grates, and other places that might have textures. The children were interested in the ways in which dirt stuck to the clay, the different types of surface textures that they could capture, and the feeling of the soft clay-dough against hard surfaces. Children also made rubbings – a technique of pressing paper against and object and rubbing crayon (or any soft material) onto the paper so that the surface beneath the paper “transfers” onto paper.

We then walked to one of the World War II commerative memorials on the corner of Fifth and Jackson, where “Mr. Ken” discussed the memorial and then demonstrated the ways in which the metal structure could also make sounds. Children took turns knocking on the metal memorial to hear the sounds it would make. Mr. Matsumoto’s art gallery on the corner of Fifth and Jackson Streets, where the children interacted with some of the gallery’s rock sculptures (the ones with water baths were a hit on this hot day), heard what some of Ken’s sculpting equipment sounds like, and rang a large bell in his gallery. Later that afternoon, we cut some of the rubbings into shapes to create new patterns and stories.

 

Japantown

HPU Strata-Walks Memphis (Thresholds)

Hamilton Perambulatory Unit’s Strata Walk in Memphis

Thresholds (by Susan Nordstrom, PhD).

 

 

 

Inescapable as the rhythmic buzzing of cicadas on a hot summer day, nonhuman plant life disrupted, pulled, drew, and made me attend to them as they pushed through the interstices of seemingly stable concrete striations (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987).  In the subterranean, a life (Deleuze, 2006), stirred and moved and rendered me imperceptible.

For some humans these disruptive nonhumans generate an urge to poison them, to ensure a striated space (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987) of concrete.  But the subterranean movements can never be killed by poison. Even in supposed death produced by yanking or poison, the roots stir.  They return again and again.  Microscopic rays of sun, drops of rainwater, and underground water always find their way to nourish the roots.  They became thresholds of intensity that neither the striated concrete nor the human can reterritorialize.

The plants became fibers that “stretch from a human to an animal, from a human or an animal to molecule, from molecule to particles, and so on to the imperceptible” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 249).  Each stretch-plant became intensive thresholds that drew together multiplicities.  These tiny thresholds temporarily made me imperceptible and gently reminded this human that she “is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities” (p. 249).

Deleuze, G. (2006). Immanence: a life.  In G. Deleuze Two Regimes of Madness. (pp.384-389).  (D. Lapoujade, Ed.).  (A. Hodges and M. Taormina, Trans.).  New York: Semiotext(e).

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1987). A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. (B. Massumi, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Walk, Place, Place: Walking as Intercultural Play

Walking Performance at the Building Interdisciplinary Bridges Across Cultures conference, Cambridge, UK.

By Kimberly Powell

I created this walk as a methodology for exploring movement and the sensorial as a means to conceptualize both art and research as emergent, intercultural phenomena. I connect the unfolding materialization of walking to the process of becoming intercultural, or the state of in-betweenness. Culture is not just something that we are born into and tacitly embody but is also something we improvise, create and envision through the everyday practices in which we engage.

The walk took place in the King’s College neighbourhood in Cambridge, England, and combined elements of chance with sensorial provocations. Stopping at historic buildings or sites of interest, participants familiar with the area gave historical, cultural, or personal information, acting as informal guides. I then asked participants to choose a number from 1-6, each of which held a corresponding prompt that I had created ahead of time but that no one knew in advance, introducing the element of chance, play, and improvisation.

Standing in front of the landmark, Corpus Clock, someone chose #5: We created human sculptures that responded to or interacted with the environment.

At the historic The Eagle pub, the chosen prompt, #4, was to move in the space/place in a way interacts and dances with the environment: If the space/place could tell you how to move, what would it say?

Outside of St Bene’t’s Church, the oldest standing building in Cambridge, we looked for borders an edges in the built and living environment: what defines them? Who made them? Are there metaphorical, symbolic, or psychological borders present? How do we meet the resistance? Outside of an old library that was now the site of a Jamie Oliver restaurant, we looked for spaces or places of transition? Are they physical, metaphoric, symbolic, and/or psychological? Can we move through them? What blocks us?

At the Fitzwilliam museum, we listened for one minute and subtracted the loudest sound: What needs to be heard? The processes of chance with sensory encounters defamiliarized the act of walking, emphasizing the ways in which walking is an intercultural practice of entanglement with and by a diverse range of actants such as activities, people, objects, discourse, ephemera, memory, non-discursivity, the senses, and the immediate environment.

 

Cambridge UK

 

Sound Walking, with PJ Hirabayashi

By Kimberly Powell

July 12-13, 2016

Two artist walks were conducted and produced by artists and preschool children in order to explore young children’s movement and material encounters through their urban neighborhood of San Jose Japantown, CA, USA. Preschool children’s daily walks are often characterized by rules and boundaries that, while established for perceived safety, can result in the taming of movement and encounters. In our walking project with preschool children, two artists, a preschool teacher, and I co-constructed artist walks that engaged children in sensory encounters with the preschool’s neighborhood. Japantown has a civic history rooted in the Japanese American internment of World War II beginning in 1942 (Presidential Executive Order 9066), and serves as a site of memorialization via cultural events, public and performing arts, and historic walking tours. One walk engaged children in the public art of a local stone sculptor while the other walk engaged them in soundscaping with a musician. An important dimension of both walks was the production of encounters through clay impressions, stone rubbings, choreographed movement, sound collection and production, child-generated video, and researcher documentation as a means of generating data not just for analysis but also for the production of further inquiry and play in the classroom. Some of the video captures what the walking activities look like from a child’s perspective. The video also serves children’s material production of movement through space and place.

PJ Hirabayashi, a taiko drumming artist, led the children on a walk right after their workshop with San Jose Taiko. We listened to and recorded all kinds of sounds around town—cars, trucks, voices, birds, and even ukulele—and explored all kinds of sounds using our voices, too. We created loud and soft “Ohs” and sounds associated with the kiai (shouted single syllables) that accompany taiko drumming, deep breaths, and train sounds to consider what we could make with our own voices as well as to attend to what we do and do not hear in the Japantown soundscape. We listened, vocalized, and sometimes even danced as we discovered a ukulele lesson or became excited by our own body’s ability to move with sound. Once again, some children got a chance to where the Go-Pro camera attached on a harness around them, to capture their perspective of the walk. You can see how Vanessa became really excited by the sounds she was making, moving her body in circles in both excitement and in an attempt to capture everyone on camera. Later in the week, we listened to some of the audio recordings of sounds in the environment, sounds we made, and video we produced so that we could talk about the sounds of Japantown.

I examine questions of what and how movement activates, for children that might generate knowledge of children’s place-making: What, and how, does movement activate in urban spaces? What are the de-familiarizing effects that methods of sensory walking have on the given order of things?

 

Japantown2

 

StoryWalks with Children: Sensory and Material Encounters with Urban Spaces

By Kimberly Powell

 

Two artist walks were conducted and produced by artists and preschool children in order to explore young children’s movement and material encounters through their urban neighborhood of San Jose Japantown, CA, USA. Preschool children’s daily walks are often characterized by rules and boundaries that, while established for perceived safety, can result in the taming of movement and encounters. In our walking project with preschool children, two artists, a preschool teacher, and I co-constructed artist walks that engaged children in sensory encounters with the preschool’s neighborhood. Japantown has a civic history rooted in the Japanese American internment of World War II beginning in 1942 (Presidential Executive Order 9066), and serves as a site of memorialization via cultural events, public and performing arts, and historic walking tours. One walk engaged children in the public art of a local stone sculptor while the other walk engaged them in soundscaping with a musician. An important dimension of both walks was the production of encounters through clay impressions, stone rubbings, choreographed movement, sound collection and production, child-generated video, and researcher documentation as a means of generating data not just for analysis but also for the production of further inquiry and play in the classroom. Some of the video captures what the walking activities look like from a child’s perspective. The video also serves children’s material production of movement through space and place.

Japantown StoryWalks

By Kimberly Powell

The StoryWalks project continues in San Jose Japantown. The questions that continue to frame this project are: How does storying walk? And, How does walking story? How is Walking as an Artful Trajectory of Thinking-in-Movement? The July walks took place primarily with artist-activists and illuminated a different sense of borders, territory, limits and neighborhood identity than prior StoryWalks. Storwalking with a young life-long, biracial Japanese American artist revealed literal and figurative signs (some of which she had created as a local artist), suggestive of multiethnic and multigenerational palimpsests to be read. A Latino American artist and gallery owner gave a tour of his gallery and public street murals that he has helped fund and/or create, illuminating in the process the transitional, temporary, and environmentally dependent nature of the materials and media. Walking with story has now become a refrain, a vector of rhythmic regularity and expressive possibility. It is at once an established habit – a walk to work, to the grocery store, to the local tofu shop, to meet up with friends at Roy’s Station cafe—that is also subject to a break in habit. In my case, the expressive possibility – that moment when walking becomes something else—appears to occur through the simple question of asking someone to give me a tour. In fact, the storywalks underscore the sensorial, affective qualities of knowledge-in-the making, and of citizenship-in-the-making as well.

Walk to Windermere Basin with Astrida Neimanis & HPU

Astrida Neimanis, from University of Sydney, Australia recently led WalkingLab and Hamilton Perambulatory Unit on a walk to Hamilton Ontario's Windemere Basin.
 
Until recently, the Basin was polluted pond of sludge due to industrial run-off lat century. It was restored about 8 years ago and is now considered a 'healed' water with a walking path through a park to access it.
 
As Astrida, WalkingLab, and HPU discovered, 'healed' may not be the most appropriate adjective to describe the basin although many plants, animals, and non-human societies appear to be flourishing in the area.
 
Astrida had participants walk with with the proposition:
 
 "How do we learn to love waters (and places) that are not healed yet?"
 
Astrida will be in-residence at WalkingLab in coming months.
 
 
 
 
 

Mapping Movement of Playground Spaces

Linda Knight’s work focuses on the pedagogies that occur in pedagogic sites. She is interested in how ideas about pedagogy as a human exchange, might be rethought. Playgrounds are often regarded as sites where children build social relationships, play, and undertake physical activity, however how might inefficient mapping turn the focus away from human activity and attend to the pedagogic aspects of other factors such as surfaces, light, time, animals, birds, sounds, gestures, shade, rain, and noises?

In mapping movement of playground spaces, pedagogy shifts beyond a directional exchange of information to become a complex series of entangled movements, affects and sensations.

Edible Matters: A Sensory Symposium

Image: Diane Borsato, The Chinatown Foray, Intervention and photographs, Toronto and New York City, 2008 – 2010
Image: Diane Borsato, The Chinatown Foray, Intervention and photographs, Toronto and New York City, 2008 – 2010

Convened at the School of Communication, the University of Technology Sydney

May 10-11, 2016

• sen-sa-tion: n. 1. A perception associated with stimulation of a sense organ
or with a specific body condition. 2. The faculty to feel or perceive.
• symposium n. 1. a conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject. 2. a drinking party or convivial discussion

This symposium offers experiential opportunities for scholars to participate in two walking excursions designed to activate our senses: a food tour and a food forage. We will use these to discuss sensory and mobility methods, analytic vocabularies and research fieldnotes.

Day One focuses on a food tour of Sydney’s China and Thai towns, run by the social enterprise Taste Tours, with specific attention to the racialised, gendered, and classed dimensions of sight, taste, touch and smell. Leading food studies theorist, Dr. Jean Duruz of the University of South Australia will reflect on these issues through her own extensive body of work on food, memory, class, gender, and ethnicity. (http://www.tastetours.com.au)

Book Launch: Food Pedagogies by Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan

Day Two takes us to Western Sydney Parkland where we will participate in a wild food forage run by Diego Bonetto who will help us identify and harvest edible and medicinal wild plants. In the afternoon we’ll return to UTS for a debriefing session on questions of settler colonialism and the politics of land. There will be a guest presentation on the representation of Australian native foods in relations to discourses of nature, Indigenous culture, and nationalism by Dr. Charlotte Craw, Curator at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and author of a number of important papers on the cultural politics of Indigenous foods and heritage. (http://www.diegobonetto.com)

Attendance at the workshop requires a full commitment to the full two-day program and preparatory readings. Due to the experiential and participatory nature of the event, it is open to a maximum of 15 participants.

Funding for the symposium is from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as part of the www.walkinglab.org research grant on walking and sensory methodologies. The event is co-hosted by Dr. Elaine Swan, University of Technology Sydney and Dr. Stephanie Springgay, University of Toronto. Interested participants should send a 50 word bio and a 100 word statement of interest to stephanie.springgay@utoronto.ca

The Warren Run

 Image Credit: Clare Britton
Image Credit: Clare Britton

Date: 5th of June, 10am-12pm.

Location: ‘The Warren’ section of Marrickville. With meeting point and start/finish line at Richardson Park (Holt Crescent).

The Warren Run is a fun run through a suburban obstacle course of people’s houses, driveways, backyards, fences and swimming pools in a residential section of Marrickville known as ‘The Warren’.

Following an orienteering-style format, runners will be given a street map and a list of addresses they must visit in order to complete the route.

The event aims to disrupt the normal flow of human traffic through this typical suburban area. Breaking some of the rules, of this type of residential space and how we engage with it physically.

Anyone may register to take part in the race. Depending on the route chosen by each runner, the race will be between 3-5km in length. Entrants need to be comfortable running that distance, but no orienteering experience is necessary.

There will be an observation area at the start / finish line for anyone keen to be involved but unable to run this distance.

We encourage you to bring what ever you need to be comfortable, including water.
Registration takes place at 9:30am at the starting and finishing line, which is at Richardson’s Lookout (Corner of Richards Ave and Holt Crescent, Marrickville.

Bio: MATT PREST is a contemporary performance maker with a background studying performance and installation art. His works both solo and collaboratively in an interdisciplinary practice that produces work for a variety of art and non-art contexts. His focus is on creating visceral and immediate experiences for audiences. This work has been recognised by awards including the Green Room Awards (2010, 2014) and Helpmann Awards (2014), and as an inaugural recipient of the Creative Australia Fellowship for Young and Emerging Artists from the Australia Council 2012-14.

Walking to the Laundromat

Image credit: Katie Weilbacher
Image credit: Katie Weilbacher

 

Walking to the Laundromat

Audio Walk & Laundromat Service.

Concept and narrative by Rebecca Conroy
Sound design by Dan McHugh

Life can sometimes feel like a long laundry list that you struggle to get through. *Sigh. If this is you, doing the laundry can be a great opportunity to refocus on your core strengths and build resilience into your day.

Walking to the Laundromat is an audio walk that combines mindfulness practice with doing the laundry in an attempt to explain the interconnections between service economy, emotional capital, and affective labour from the perspective of the artists exceptional labouring body.

Sunday May 1 meeting at 1:30pm for a 2pm start (sharp)

The audio walk will commence at a location to be advised once your reservation is confirmed.

The main activity will be conducted at the Washingdone Laundromat (209 Enmore rd. Enmore) will go for 75 minutes. There will be a brief discussion with the artist at the conclusion of the event.

Spaces are extremely limited. If you are interested in attending this group walking session please rsvp and a meeting point will be sent to you your email. It will be a short distance from the laundromat on Enmore Road.

BYO 1 bag of dirty laundry as this is required in the piece.

You will need to download the track onto a hand held device, from this website and also have your own headphones to participate.

This audio available for download from friday 29th April.

If you are interested in attending this group walking session please RSVP via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/walking-to-the-laundromat-tickets-23207175286?aff=es2

BIO: Rebecca Conroy is an interdisciplinary creature working across site, community engagement, and performative interventions through artist led activity and philosophy. Her work is bound up in mimetic strategies and the playful occupation of non-art fields such as urban planning, economics, and housing, particularly where it concerns the behaviour of cities and the rise of the creative entrepreneur and finance capitalism. She has previously worked in the role of Festival Director (Gang Festival), Associate Director (Performance Space); Provocateur (Splendid Arts Lab & Artist Wants a Life) and has been the co-founder and co-director of two artist run spaces in Sydney, The Wedding Circle and Bill+George. From 2011 – 2014 she was conductor of The Yurt Empire, a rogue housing project and encounter in the inner city of Sydney. She was also critical writer on Temporary Democracies and has worked with dlux media arts as science+art community engaged researcher. She has been widely published on topics ranging from artist led initiatives, site based experimental practice, and contemporary performance. Currently she is working on three projects: A Very Beautiful Laundromat that experiments with the feast and famine economy of the artist in the form of an artist run laundromat, a radio work based on a series of dates with economists, and an ongoing radical archiving project with a collective of artists with library tendencies called The Librarium.

WalkingLab Itinerant Reading Salon

WalkingLab’s Itinerant Reading Salon is a project that explores the relationship between movement, text, and place. The series of salons, which have taken place on walks in Canada, Australia, Ireland, and Iceland respond to Isabelle Stengers’ ‘politics of slowness.’ For Stengers, slow is not only a measure or a speed, but a call to think ‘in the presence of others.’

Slow creates a space for hesitation and resistance, where non-innocent knottings produce new modes of relating. The particular urgency of the salons is in experimenting with the act of reading, as movement, and in different contexts and situations.

Participation in the salons is free and open to everyone.

To host or participate in a salon, contact WalkingLab.

Live Art, Social & Community Engagement: Interrogating Methodologies of Practice

Rebecca Conroy's Dating an Economist, Group Exhibition at The Luminary, St Louis Missouri. Photo Credit, Brea McAnally
Rebecca Conroy’s Dating an Economist, Group Exhibition at The Luminary, St Louis Missouri.
Photo Credit, Brea McAnally

Monday April 4th 10am-3pm

Location:
UNSW Galleries
Corner of Oxford St & Greens Rd
Paddington

Free Event. Register on Eventbrite:
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/live-art-social-community-engagement-methodologies-of-practice-tickets-21750417083

This one-day forum on live art, social and community practice is focused on interrogating methodologies of practice with a particular emphasis on pedagogies of not knowing, ethics of participation, and issues of colonization, climate, and place. The forum grows out of creative dissonance with the gentrification of socially-engaged practices and subsequent discursive presentations that narrowly defend projects in which social good is promoted and promised uncritically.

The structure of the forum is integral to its content, with a focus on decentering and destabilizing neoliberal understandings and practices of working within communities. Invited panelists will be given a set of provocative questions and asked to prepare a 10-minute presentation responding to those they found interesting or which related to issues that exist within their own practice. Following the panel presentation audience participants will be invited to contribute to the discussion.

After a social lunch break a less formal mode of small group discussion and walking will take place. The forum will be punctured by Live Writers who will “capture” the event through various textual and performative practices. Digital archives of the live writing will be shared through the research website www.walkinglab.org

Panel & Live Writers Include:
Leuli Eshragi, Latai Taumoepeau, Rosie Dennis, Cigdem Aydemir, Jennifer Hamilton, Rebecca Conroy, Keg de Souza, Astrid Lorange, and Lucas Ihlein. Moderator, Francis Maravillas.

Convenors:
Funding for the symposium is from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as part of the www.walkinglab.org research grant on walking and sensory methodologies. The event is co-hosted by Stephanie Springgay, Associate Professor University of Toronto, Visiting Scholar UNSW and Lenine Burke, Artist and Creative Producer.

Presenting Partner:

UNSW Galleries

StoryWalks: Walking as Place Making Methodology in San Jose Japantown, California

StoryWalks

Lecture by WalkingLab’s Dr. Kimberly Powell

Thursday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m.
Palmer Lipcon Auditorium, Palmer Museum of Art

Walking has increasingly been adopted by artists and social scientists as a means to develop socially engaged, community-based practice and research. Drawing from her work in the cultural and historical district of San Jose Japantown (CA), an area affected by the Japanese American internment experience of World War II, Dr. Powell’s research focuses on the ways in which walking as a sensory experience facilitates memory, biography, and identity as emplaced, and the ways in which walking as a methodology is an orientation toward an ontology of being in the making, one that is comprised of
space, place, and material encounters.

TaikoPeace!: Tapping into Embodied Knowledge

taiko

TaikoPeace!: Tapping into Embodied Knowledge and Authentic Power Through the Japanese Drum

WalkingLab’s Collaborator, PJ Hirabayashi is giving a performance and lecture at Penn State’s Art & Design Research Incubator, March 31.

Taiko, the Japanese drum, became PJ Hirabayashi’s cultural touchstone to explore identity, community building, and social change. Spend an evening with PJ in Taiko performance, movement, and interaction as she unveils the creative impact the drum can have.

http://www.pjhirabayashi.com/

Stone Walks

Excavating what Jeffrey Cohen calls “lithic ecomateriality” the Stone Walks project has navigated the rocky topography of the Canadian Shield, Ontario, Canada, and the Mornington Penninsula, Victoria, the Micalong Creek, Wee Jasper, New South Wales, the Glenbrook Gorge and the Ingar Dam, and Blue Mountains in Australia.

Thinking outside and beyond the logical end point of rocks we consider rocks as queer archives of feeling; as affective and trans-touching relatings between human and more-than-human space-time convergences. In Archive Fever, Derrida argues that archives are not simply a logic of the past but “a question of the future, question of a response, of a promise and of a responsibility for tomorrow.”

In thinking a queer archive of feeling through Haraway’s notion of inheritance, and queer embodiment as a set of relations between movement, speed, expansion and excess, we attend to political futurities of living with rocks which include colonization, strip mining, displacement, pollution, fracking, and other manifestations of the Anthropocene.

Read an article about Stone Walks by WalkingLab’s Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman.

PDF: Stone Walks: Inhuman animacies and queer archives of feeling.

Citation: Springgay, S, & Truman, S. E. (2016). Stone Walks: Inhuman animacies and queer archives of feeling. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education.

Edible Matters: A Sensory Symposium

 

Edible Matters: A Sensory Symposium

Convened at the School of Communication, the University of Technology Sydney

May 10-11, 2016

• sen-sa-tion: n. 1. A perception associated with stimulation of a sense organ
or with a specific body condition. 2. The faculty to feel or perceive.
• symposium n. 1. a conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject. 2. a drinking party or convivial discussion

This symposium offered experiential opportunities for scholars to participate in two walking excursions designed to activate our senses: a food tour and a food forage. Participants used the excursions to discuss sensory and mobility methods, analytic vocabularies, and research fieldnotes.

Day One focused on a food tour of Sydney’s China and Thai towns, run by the social enterprise Taste Tours, with specific attention to the racialised, gendered, and classed dimensions of sight, taste, touch and smell. Following the walk, leading food studies theorist, Dr. Jean Duruz of the University of South Australia reflected on these issues through her own extensive body of work on food, memory, class, gender, and ethnicity.

Book Launch: Food Pedagogies by Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan

Day Two took us to Western Sydney Parkland where we participated in a wild food forage run by Diego Bonetto who helped us identify and harvest edible and medicinal wild plants. In the afternoon we returned to UTS for a debriefing session on questions of settler colonialism and the politics of land. Dr. Charlotte Craw, Curator at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and author of a number of important papers on the cultural politics of Indigenous foods and heritage offered a guest presentation on the representation of Australian native foods in relations to discourses of nature, Indigenous culture, and nationalism.

Funding for the symposium is from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as part of the www.walkinglab.org research grant on walking and sensory methodologies. The event was co-hosted by Dr. Elaine Swan, University of Technology Sydney and Dr. Stephanie Springgay, University of Toronto.

Thinking – With Bark

WalkingLab’s Mindy Blaise & Catherine Hamm:

Our project is an experimental, multisensory, multispecies ethnography with early childhood teachers, young children, and a place called Cruikshank Park, located in Australia. Prior to dispossession, Cruikshank Park was part of the traditional lands of the Marin Balluk Clan, who make up the Woi Wurrung language group of the Wurrundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.

Each week we go ‘out-and-about’ with a group of young children and their teachers to a place we have named, the Bark Studio, located beside Stony Creek. The Bark Studio is a place where we invite teachers to think with bark. We initiated this project because we are interested in working with teachers to challenge representational and rational logic that works hard to tame, simplify, and control children’s learning. In particular we are working with teachers to experiment with a counter logic that opens up possibilities, rather than closing learning down. One of the ways that we have engaged teachers to begin thinking with a counter logic is by decentring the child. We are encouraging teachers to move away from a child centred pedagogy that always focuses on a child and her interests and instead to consider the more-than-human.

Working with ideas from a wide range of disciplinary fields, including anthropology, biology, ethology, feminism, human geography, science and technology studies, and the environmental humanities, we are considering ways to challenge human exceptionalism, or the notion that humans, our desires and plans might not be the only thing in the world. We are working with teachers to consider, “what happens when bark becomes the focus?”

Queering the Trail Artwork by Mary Tremonte

Our colleague and friend, Mary Tremonte at Just Seeds, created Queering the Trail pennants and badges for WalkingLab. You can purchase badges on Mary’s Etsy site and support a queer feminist activist’s work.

WalkingLab has been thinking-making-doing research that seeks to queer walking practices that govern bodies including landscapes. When we say ‘queer’ we use in a general sense as odd and strange, and in a specific sense of referring to LGBTQ identities. Queer has been used to unsettle norms and hierarchies of humanness. The meaning of queer or ‘to queer’ continues to move, probe, and shift beyond individual gender or sexual orientation markers, and towards a more complex understanding of queer that doesn’t only represent particular kinds of queer bodies. However, when viewed through this framework the queer identity and the ability to queer is tied to western rational individualism and the liberal humanist subject who can afford to be queer and to queer. And consequently, tied to the liberal humanist subject who asserts his or her agency to queer or be queer. As such, we recognize the complex and intense ways that queer can affect Indigenous, racialized, and sexualized bodies.

WalkingLab’s events seek to disrupt the heteronormative, settler colonial ways in which walking is conventionally understood through three heteronormative tropes –the flaneur, the derive, and the romantic colonial long walk. As white settlers we don’t use the term ‘decolonize’ for our efforts to disrupt normative practices of walking, but rather use unsettle, and queer: two terms we feel we can walk-with in our research.

WalkingLab’s ongoing efforts to Queer the Trail are significant because they emphasize the speculative and experimental potential of walking as research, while simultaneously attending to the complexities of subjectivities, mobilities, and situatedness.

 

 

Postcards from Strangers

Postcards from Strangers

Sarah E. Truman walked St. Cuthbert’s Way on the border of Scotland and England. As part of her documentation process she left 30 postcards, stamped and addressed to herself along the trail in the tradition of the 19th century walking practice known as “Letterboxing.” With each postcard was a note asking fellow walkers who encountered the postcards to send her a postcard telling her about their own experiences on St. Cuthbert’s Way.

To help contextualize the unexpected responses this project generated Postcards from Strangers draws from physicist and new materialist scholar Karen Barad (2007) who views creativity and agency as attributable to a complex network of human and nonhuman agents, including historically specific sets of material conditions that exceed the traditional notion of the individual. Such a view is a departure from a human-centric approach prevalent in much educational research. Accordingly, Truman’s own walk of St. Cuthbert’s Trail becomes entangled with and made sense of through a productive assemblage of others’ ephemeral writings/drawings/musings.

3 City Strata-Walk

Strata-Walk

November 21st, 2015
HPU’s Strata-Walk (Victoria Edition)

WalkingLab and Hamilton Perambulatory Unit invite you out on a stratigraphic walk to map the different layers of meanings, stories, and systems that make up a place.

With the help of a list of prompts, we will lead this exploration of the urban landscape in three different cities, on three different continents! It will take place in Sydney, Australia (where WalkingLabers will walk), Windsor, Ontario (with HPUers will walk as part of the Stories of the City exhibition opening), and London, England (where composer David Ben Shannon will lead).

Each city will host a group walk down Victoria Street/Avenue on November 21st, 2015. Each group will collectively map the “strata” of that street on that date using a list of prompts.

Please contact Sarah E. Truman (sarah.truman@mail.utoronto.ca) to participate in the Sydney, Australia Strata-Walk. We will meet on the NW corner of Victoria St and Brougham Ln at 3pm on November 21st.

Please contact the HPU (hamiltonperambulatoryunit@gmail.com)to participate in the Windsor, Ontario Strata-Walk.

Please contact David Ben Shannon (davidbenshannon@icloud.com) to participate in the London, UK Strata-Walk.

If you want to add a city contact HPU.

PlayWalking Workshop

PlayWalk

PlayWalking Worksshop, Penn State University Park Campus

The Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) in the College of Arts and Architecture hosted Playwalking: A Workshop, on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 3:30–5:30 p.m., in 16 Borland Building. In the workshop, Kimberly Powell, associate professor of education and art education, guided participants on an “art walk” incorporating chance and play. Participants engaged in movement and sensory activities as they took a walk through campus in order to explore perception and place in a whole new way. Engaging the roll of the die, participants incorporated chance as a form of playful interaction with the environment around them. Our Playwalking involved a 45 minute walk around campus that involved the roll of the die, with each number corresponding to a particular action:

      1. Record your surroundings for 30 seconds. Remain quiet.

 

      2. Take a photo of something that engages you.

 

      3. Experiment with movement for 1 minute (e.g., speed up, crawl, dance); record movement.

 

      4. Create a human sculpture that responds to or interacts with the environment; take photo

 

      5. Collect something. Take it with you. (Option, if rolled again): Take the object you collected and place it in your new context. Take a picture.

 

    6. Partner with someone and take turns walking with your eyes closed while the other person acts as a guide for 5 minutes. Take turns. Audio record your thoughts on what you notice.

In the process, we archived the walk with our smart phones, uploading the resulting material, chance encounters to this Facebook page. After the walk, we reflected on what the event produced for us: new perceptions on place, material encounters with the landscape and builtscape; awareness of self in relation to space and place, and the ways in which the element of chance introduced a sense of openness to new encounters with place.

For more information on ADRI, visit: http://sites.psu.edu/adri.

Ring of Fire A 300-person-strong street procession

Commissioned by the Art Gallery of York University, and two-years in the making, Ring of Fire is a 300-person strong street procession by internationally renowned Trinidadian artist Marlon Griffith. Made for the City of Toronto and staged at the Parapan American Games, Ring of Fire takes place on Sunday, August 9 along University Avenue from Queens Park to City Hall at 12 pm.

http://www.theagyuisoutthere.org/rofire/