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 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 (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.

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 (

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.



In this post we present a series of maps we produced at Frontyard to retrace our steps and the evolution, or disappearance, of the seeds we scattered and gifted.

The maps are made with:

  • Seeds from the project
  • Knots, straight and wavy lines, tangles, loops from our walks
  • Linseed oil based inks
  • Paper
  • Graphite pencils
  • Pens
  • A re-commissioned Risograph printer
  • Benjamin Forster who taught us how to do it.


Taking an Object for a Walk – Post 11

These last two posts for this residency with WalkingLab are going to be thoughts and reflections about Taking an Object for a Walk in terms of some of the concepts that I have been thinking about throughout the project, and how it develops some of the ideas that have informed my existing art practice.

This has been an explicitly pedagogical project. I have been able to learn and work with my daughter through drawing together, and walking and negotiating together. I took great pleasure in watching her mind at work and seeing her “get it”. Overall she really enjoyed participating. It was a good chance to let her make decisions and lead me – her parent – around the museums and the streets.

This project has been a novel way to interact with a museum collection. At the beginning of the project I expected there to be a clear line between choosing an object that would lead us and choosing an object that we would lead on an excursion as a cicerone – a type of guide who shows visitors around museums and galleries, and who can “explain matters of archeological, antiquarian, historic, or artistic interest” offering a “type of learning and eloquence” ( However, this line was blurry and sometimes the object was more of an inspiration to walk somewhere specific. Sometimes we did literally pretend to have the object with us, but it was never clear whom was leading whom. This was also the case with being with my daughter. The project was an attempt at enabling her, as a child, to determine which object we worked with, what its new story would be, and from that, where we walked. Sometimes this ambition was frustrated, and sometimes it worked well. In the end, I recognize that the roles of leader and follower were open to negotiation in our relationship between ourselves and with the object, as were the roles of learner and teacher.

I like to think of Taking an Object for a Walk as extending the narrative horizon of a stationary museum object; giving it momentum, a trajectory outside of the museum, imagining infinite possibilities for the object, giving it a social life, a community or human and non-human things, giving it an afterlife.

[ I wrote a bit about Object Biography in post number 8 ]

I wonder about the difference between the idea of the object and the object itself. I wonder about objects that were not intended to be in a museum (I keep thinking back to the Pitt Rivers in Oxford – an anthropological museum full of artifacts from around the world) and specifically the Blackfoot shirts which came back to Canada on loan from the museum (

I wonder about symbolically returning objects to the places from whence they came.

This brings up the difference between the museum object that is dead, has been deposited, and then retrieved for inclusion in the museum collection and the artwork whose intended resting place is the museum. Taking an Object for a Walk could be a way of making an escape route for these “non-art” objects helping to find allies for the object outside the museum, a community, a network of resistance. Do objects have intention, or the capacity for symbolic action? (Humphries & Smith)

There is something very romantic about this work that I haven’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it is “poetic,” in that it develops the object and its imagined community a strong metaphor for the plight of humans that have found themselves discontented from the relationships that produced and sustained them, and which had given their lives meaning.

I’ve also been thinking about the role of the walk. The walk both enables the object to “move” thereby unlocking an object’s biography (introducing the object to ourselves, other non-human things, and other places), and the object unlocks a walk. The object sends us out because it can’t move.

There is a relation here to some of cultural geographer Jon Anderson’s ideas of “walking and talking” and the kinds of things that can be learned from others when you walk “in place” with them. I wonder at whether the method that I used unlocks certain latent or immanent relationships that the object has with others – to humans and to other objects. Perhaps taking the object for a walk – albeit symbolically – frees it from the narrative constraints of the museum, and allows it to “speak” differently? (Anderson)

I mentioned in previous posts how freeing I found these walks. By convincing myself that I was letting an object determine where we went I felt very “in the moment”. They were exploratory and imaginative walks.

Taking an Object for a Walk achieves the making of a new community of people and things both human and non-human, giving a stationary museum object an afterlife, and, finally, I think this project holds the potential to do a lot of symbolic moving of items (by foot) that are otherwise “locked up” or “dead”.


Humphries & Smith “Talking objects: Towards a post-social research framework for exploring object narratives.” Organization 2014, Vol 21 (4) 477- 494.

Jon Anderson “Talking whilst walking: a geographical archaeology of knowledge” Area (2004) 36.3, 254-261

HPU Strata-Walks (Buffalo version) – (de)touristing


Photo: “The Canoes” by Nancy Rubin outside the Albright-Knox in Buffalo.

I’ve come to Buffalo as an artist-in-residence with the Open Air Institute at SUNY Buffalo’s Department of Media Study. Open Air Director Teri Rueb is my mentor and guide. The first time I met with her, she drove me around the neighbourhoods of the Delaware Park System, pointing out the Frederic Olmsted-designed roundabouts and diagonal parkways that cut across the grid. The houses are big, inexpensive to rent but expensive to heat in the winter. Elmwood Avenue is where the restaurants and shops are in this part of the city. Built Environment Strata.

On my second visit, I cross the Peace Bridge into Buffalo in the evening, heading to a department dinner party, and the border guard is the friendliest I have ever met. She smiles, asks her questions politely, waves me through. The party is in Parkside, a national historic district that also contains two Frank Lloyd Wright houses. At the house, people stand in the backyard in the dusk, slapping hungry mosquitos that have come out in force in the humid, cooling air. Sensual Strata, Nature Strata, Geopolitical Strata. I ask people I meet to tell me stories about Buffalo and border-crossing. Our host tells me he lived in Toronto for 12 years and commuted here, and somehow got on some sort of list where they pulled him over for document control every single time, until after two years, his name must have fallen off the list. Storied Strata.

On my third visit, I cross the Peace Bridge late at night, only one kiosk open at the border. Again the guard is friendly. I have brought my funding papers in case they might prevent another document-control pullover, but he doesn’t even ask to see them. Navigating through the Buffalo streets in the dark, guided only by the disembodied female voice of GPS, I have no idea where I am. I feel like I am steering a spaceship through the void of the unknown. Red brick buildings, churches, laundromats. Finally she says, “you have arrived at your destination.” Technological Strata. Networked Strata.

In the morning I go to the Albright-Knox. Driving up Elmwood, I see a store called WE NEVER CLOSE! It has been about 15 years since my last visit. I walk around the building, looking at the sculptures. Shapes and colours in the landscape, Delaware Park across the way, the water gleaming in the sunlight. Inside there are drawings by the artist Joan Linder: a map of toxic waste sites, panaromic drawings of landscapes and chain-link fences which I feel an immediate kinship with (as I myself had a long-standing relationship with the L’Acadie Fence). I am in awe of these drawings and her project, called “Operation Sunshine.” Industrial strata. Storied Strata. There is also a 2 channel video installation by Claudia Joskowicz called “Every Building on Avenida Alfonso Ugarte—After Ruscha” (that included a copy of Ed Ruscha’s fold-out accordion book, “Every Building on the Sunset Strip”, something I have referenced often and was delighted to see). Joskowicz’s work takes the mundane drive down a street in El Alto, Bolivia, punctuated with scenes from a protest and a celebration. I watched the video twice, entranced by the rolling cinema of the street. What else could I call these brushes with the thoughts and obsessions of another, this feeling of kinship, this view of the world from another’s perspective that has now overlaid itself on the landscape of this place? Connection Strata. Emotion Strata. Spark Strata.

Naturally, the first sites tend to be the tourist spots, the places that build the bones of the city image. I am a tourist, yes, but I am developing my de-touring skills so that I can be a (de)tourist. De-touristing implies an attempt to move past stereotypically tourist practices, which tend towards sight-seeing and spectacle. Shifting emphasis from “sight to site” (as Guilana Bruno recommends in her Atlas of Emotion), my conception of detouristing uses these stratigraphic methods to found a de-touristing practice that promotes the deeper understanding of place. Filling in the blanks of the map is an endeavour of years, decades, lifetimes. In my short tenure in Buffalo, I can hope for no more than the slightest and most tentative sketch of the city, but already my cognitive map is so much clearer than just two months ago.




The walking playground: flickerings

I took my last walk for this residency project at a local reservoir. The cool sunny day made the spot extremely popular with runners, families and walking groups, dashing any hope of a quiet walk. The dusty path hugs the periphery of the reservoir. It has been created by the local council and skirts along the edge of the water holding back the young gangly gum trees and creeping vines. The path is constructed to provide an easy stroll for visitors however on busy days like this walking becomes stuttered, a series of quick darts and skips to let puffing runners go through or to concede the right to pass to chatting families. The dust rises and makes its way up the nostrils, the pollen of the yellow, overhanging wattle blossoms also finds its way in. My nose is really tingling as I continue to stop for the oncoming traffic. The sun is getting high and I regret my choice of wearing sweat pants as I walk on.

The sun starts to flicker through the gum saplings, and even though my pace is slow I am bombarded with bright, frantic dashes of light, hitting the edge of my sunglasses and adding to my disorientation. My walk becomes less of a walk in the bush but a walk in particles, motes, light and shadow; a walk of jerking muscles and social negotiations, of emotions, temperatures and moistures.

This walk of flickering movements, sensations, affects and materialities offers the perfect conclusion to my project.


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The walking playground: pedagogy

This week I decided to collaborate with one of my graduate classes on the project. They are a great class and, as my gran would have said, keen as mustard, willing to try new practices and challenge their thinking. I began the class with some drawing exercises; the kind that produce giggles and help ease away fears about drawing ‘well’. I wanted the class to create gestural marks and encouraged the students to move their body in different ways to play with scale, to draw through different temporalities and to encourage them to notice the materiality of the tools and drawing surfaces.

The exercises helped prepare the class conceptually for looking at the website and my previous residency postings. I think perhaps some were still a little perplexed despite doing the drawing exercises but the class showed a curiosity for the work and what my intentions were. I explained how I created the drawings and what I paid attention to as I made them and explained that we would work together to produce works.

We took a walk to a green space that is situated at the main entrance to the campus. It was late morning so the area was reasonably busy with students travelling between classes and heading to lunch. Before we left the studio I explained to the class that I wanted them to find a tree and lay under it on their back. Without looking at the paper they were to find some way of holding it to draw on while looking up at the tree canopy and create gestural mappings of the moving edges of leaves, branches, clouds, blossom, and shadows. The paper was thin and they had no hard surface to lean on so the task was fraught with difficulty, however it made the materials highly present in the event.

I wasn’t sure how my class would deal with my request given the presence of so many other people around however they lay under the trees, trying not to put holes in their paper as they scratched and mapped away. Afterwards we walked back to the studio.

The chance to walk and draw differently is playful and pedagogic. The students were prepared to engage in a drawing performance and become a momentary spectacle, and they were prepared to suspend their ideas about how drawings are made. In so doing they also willingly participated in a pedagogic encounter with walking, mapping and movements.

This posting contains a greater number of images to include everyone’s drawings.


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The walking playground: dusk

The campus where I work is set high on the top of a rise, this provides a sense of walking in amongst the tree tops and the vibrant Queensland skies as I hurry about my business. I usually leave the campus as the day is ending so I find myself slowing my usual walking pace at this point to take in the colours of the sunset. Dawn and dusk are short-lived in this part of the world, usually taking no more than 15 minutes to transition from day to night or vice versa. They are quite spectacular though, producing incredible light shows when the weather is good (which is often). Dusk is a temporal edge, a time zone where sight is affected, temperatures change, air pressure changes, and the tasks of daily routines change.

The thing that interests me about dusk more-so than dawn, are the movements this temporal edging triggers. Queensland is home to an incredible array of wildlife; at dusk many animals, insects and birds signal the onset of night and their time to sleep, awaken, hunt, or hide. Every time I walk through my campus at dusk I am reminded of this by the deafening chorus of the crimson rosellas, rainbow lorikeets, noisy miners and the tiny, darting welcome swallows as they race from tree to tree, socialise, fight and feed. This week I carefully timed my walk home, stopping periodically to listen to their arguments and blusterings, and made some gestural mappings (very inefficiently) of their calls and movements.


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Hamilton Perambulatory Unit – Introduction to the Strata-Walk


The HPU’s Strata-Walk begins with a series of prompts or instructions that are designed to develop the art of noticing as a process of mapping the strata of place. The metaphor of stratigraphy allows the use of many diverse kinds of knowledge, and is inherently interdisciplinary.

Ephemeral strata can be various shades of made-up and true, incidental or mythic, scientific fact or historical fiction. They can leave traces in the landscape, or they can be invisible and in need of explication.

The Strata-Walk urges you to identify different layers of strata as a way of provoking your attention, and can be adapted to any method of mobility.

Ephemeral elements such as smell, sound, weather and time make up strata that are difficult to map but essential to space and place-making. Each of these main kinds of strata can be sub-categorized into smaller strata (“botanizing on the pavement” after Baudelaire and Benjamin). There is no end to the strata.

As participatory workshops, the Strata-Walks function as public pedagogy and relational art, where the emphasis is on the inter-relationships between people and environments, and the creative element does not lie in the making of an object, but an event. The prompts can also be used in groups, or by the solo walker, the commuter, the newcomer to a city, or the tourist.

Our Strata-Walk (Victoria Street/Avenue Version) was a participatory event aimed at highlighting different ways of seeing placenames as vestiges of colonialism, and to propose strategies of decolonizing place. Our Strata-Walk (Mile End Montreal version) was presented in the context of Montreal Monochome IV at the artist-run centre articule, with a specific theme of decolonializing knowledge production.

During the upcoming summer months, HPU will develop further explorations and expand our methodologies. We invite you to participate, beginning with the Strata-Walk.

To map the strata, draw your route with paper and pencil or an electronic device, and attempt to map as many thoughts, sensations, and stories as possible on your walk, using two or more of the following strata-probing-prompts (or make some of your own):

Signed Strata: Identify texts and the systems they belong to (street signs – civic, colonialist; advertising – captialist; graffiti – poetic or interventionist etc.) Why is the street called Victoria? Did it ever have another name? Should it?

Architectural Strata: Identify architectural periods. Note lovely buildings, or intriguing buildings, or decrepit buildings and broken curbs.

Non-human animals Strata: Look for non-human creatures on the street. Pet a cat. Who else lives on the street? Birds? Insects?

Inanimate Strata: Identify plants (native, invasive, useful, ornamental, etc.), note the rocks.

Pre-urban strata: Imagine what was here before, the landscape without the city. Do this without resorting to the trope of “untamed wilderness.”

Electrical Strata: Trace the power lines (where does the electricity come from?).

Shiny Strata: Look for things that are shiny and where the light comes from. Draw or write about them.

Attraction Strata: Notice what is repulsive to you and what attracts you. You can draw or take pictures. Try to use each of your senses for this!

Olfactory Strata: Notice the smells of the street. How can you map sound without using words? If you do use words try synesthesia.

Audio Strata: How does the street sound? What does the street sound? Where does the street sound? Record audio or take notes.

Speculative Strata: Map what the street could be. Revamp it according to your imagination.

Rhythm Strata: What is the rhythm of the day when you move through place? Are you in rush hour or is it slow? What other rhythms can you sense where you are?

Tactile Strata: How does the street feel? Make rubbings, drawings of felt strata.

Storied Strata: Interview strangers (or yourself) on the street and gather stories about the street. What is the street’s history? Any anecdotes?

If in a group, you may wish to designate different prompts to different members, or collectively decide on a few that everyone focuses on (best for smaller groups). You could colour-code your strata and have them on the same map. Or make different maps, or no map! Return your maps to HPU if you please.




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.

The Voice Exchange – Denmark Audio

A little late, but here are some initial recordings from a parallel walk to our Toronto campus walk, this one taking place at Aarhus University, Denmark. We have three recorded audio tracks from three different spaces, across the globe, but similar in qualities. In a reading room, as at the UofT libraries, we hear the sounds of zippers, footsteps, doors opening, and general shuffling. At the university park, we hear again the sound of birds, passing conversations, cars driving, and outdoor footsteps. And in an outdoor walk between libraries, we again hear wind, the sound of cars passing (which sound more like planes), some birds, and a beeping traffic signal.

Without the sound of people and the languages that can locate them geographically, it is difficult to distinguish the audio between the parallel spaces. The bird call in the University Park or the traffic signal on the outdoor walk could perhaps be used to narrow the geography, as they are distinct from those found in Toronto, but this is not immediately evident. Even when voices and language are present, we have seen that they can fool the listeners, as the Toronto campus has many international students (including our own Danish recorder). It is primarily in listening to the smaller details of the audio tracks that one can realize the fundamental differences between the Toronto and Aarhus tracks.

Aarhus University Park

Aarhus Reading Room

Aarhus University Park

Outdoor Walk Between Aarhus Libraries


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:

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.

Riverwalking – Introduction


This month, three primary researchers-at-large from the Helio Butler Institute for Intraterrestrial Survival (HBI) will embark on a journey of exploration through the waterways of Southern California. Maya Land, Alexis Selleck and Nassem Navab hope to develop an experiential mapping of this region by investigating the physical relationship between bodies and waterways.

Rivers are paths where water walks, paths that have been shaped by both human and geological forces. These waterways are an essential lifeline for human centers, and in the desert of southern California, their presence is even more crucial. The rivers running through Southern California’s desert cities are often either selectively preserved corridors deemed “natural” or suffocated cement canals set into the cityscape. They are sites of mixing, swirling eddies where invasive vines, native trout, human and animal homes, waste and cultural identities collide.

Local participants and HBI researchers will walk various rivers in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, California. Together, this is an act to reclaim the public space and history of rivers. Individually, the intimacy of walking in water encourages a meditative interaction with the river and its synanthropic organisms. Walking in the river becomes dance, a radical way of redefining the relationship between body and place.

3 City 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 ( 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 ( participate in the Windsor, Ontario Strata-Walk.

Please contact David Ben Shannon ( to participate in the London, UK Strata-Walk.

If you want to add a city contact HPU.

Propositional Walking: Call for submissions

PROPOSITIONAL WALKING: Call for submissions

We are seeking submissions from artists and scholars on propositional walking. Propositions differ from pre-determined instructions; they embrace mysterious outcomes and chance occurrences. Erin Manning writes that propositions allow us to feel what may be. They are “thoughts in motion.”

We are curating a series of propositional walks for our research project “Performing Lines” []. We seek submissions that propositionally set a walk in motion.

Submissions should include a 250 word text description or propositional activator and 2 images (images should be high resolution jpg or png files of at least 150 dpi). Submissions will be curated and presented on the research website . Submissions should be sent to

Wolfe and Whiteman: Landscape and Inscription

On Thursday Feb 19th, I had the pleasure of attending a talk on the UNSW campus in Sydney by Cary Wolfe and Maria Whiteman. Maria’s work ( speaks to many of the concepts we have been collectively exploring through this larger project, namely movement, affect, ecologies, and sensory knowing. They presented on her video installations “Mountain Pine Beatle” and “Roadside Kestrel.” One of the aesthetic or affective cuts that I took from her presentation and the videos was the repetitive image of walking feet filmed from above, moving over different terrains and topologies, and the reoccurring motif of the side car mirror. There was a lot of talk about these projects in relation to Timothy Morton’s work on ecology, intra-species, environmental degradation, and human response in the face of catastrophe. However, the feet and the mirrors activated a nostalgic sense of longing, materializing modes of transportation through lands, much like the work of Elinor Whidden ( that aims to examine issues related to Colonialism, silence, invisibility, and violence.

As part of a neo-liberal narrative of progress, climate assumes that change is teleologically directed by known human actions. Dominant climate change discourse is saturated with conjectures in which humans will control the future or save the past. The language that frames such discourse is often laden with urgency and impending crisis of the world’s end, yet, as Clare Colebrook (2012) has argued, this threat is perceived at a distance. She writes, “there is neither panic nor any apparent affective comportment that would indicate that anyone really feels or fears [this threat]” (p. 53). Climate change she contends is constituted through the consumption of affect – news coverage of natural disasters; apocalyptic movies – but without intensity “without any sense that our bodies and our time are mutually implicated in environmental changes” (Neimanis & Walker, 2014, p. 559). Rather than a view that climate composes a backdrop to human existence, climate is ‘in us’ (Colebrook, 2011); or as Whiteman and Whidden’s work attests “we are ‘weather bodies.’”

Here i draw on Astrida Neimanis and Rachel Loewen Walker’s (2014) concept of “weathering.” Weathering they contend is “a way of being/becoming, or a mode of affecting and differentiating that brings humans into relation with more-than-human weather” (p. 560). They argue that such a re-orientation shifts the question of “what can we do to stop climate change” (which keeps climate change at a distance) to “how is climate change me?” (p. 561).