Diverse Approaches to Walking

In response to a query on the listserv (and in a further attempt to expand the canon) members of the Walking Artists Network contributed suggestions for a list of walking artists that reflects the diversity of the practice. A digest of the list (in no particular order) can be found below; if you have further suggestions please add them to the comments.

Kubra Khademi, an Afghan performance artist who creates really interesting public art. She received international coverage for her work Armor (2015), which resulted in a fatwa and her exile from Kabul. She currently lives, studies and makes art in Paris. An example of her work there is Kubra et les bonhomies piétons (2016).

London based theatre maker and poet Inua Ellams has created The Midnight Run, an overnight exploration of the city on foot using a variety of participatory performance techniques. You can find video documentation here: https://vimeo.com/109388033.

Ethiopian artist Mihret Kebede works in a variety of media and creates work that engages with the public and creates moments of intercultural exchange. In 2012 she was the resident artist of Deveron Projects, where she conceived Slow Marathon a walking exchange between Huntly, Scotland and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that collected miles walked from all over the world in an attempt to link the two places. Kebede’s project has transformed into an annual event, and each year a Slow Marathon is created in conjunction with resident artists at Deveron Project’s Walking Institute.

William Pope L. has been creating crawling works since 1978: https://walkerart.org/magazine/william-popel-will-exhaust. More recently, he created a durational work called The Great White Way, 22 Miles, 9 Years, One Street (2001-2009), where he spent five years crawling Broadway in New York City. You can read about it here: http://brooklynrail.org/2003/06/artseen/white-way. In 2002 he organised a mass crawl in Portland, video documentation is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga5CWsJQapQ. It is interesting to note the demographics of the group crawl; think about how this changes the work compared to the image of Pope L. crawling on his own.

Ingrid Pollard created Wordsworth’s Heritage (1992), a series of postcards/billboards that feature black British walkers in heritage sites more commonly associated with white bodies.

New York City based Tehching Hsieh, one of the originators of performance art. For Outdoor Piece (1981-1982) he lived outside for a year, never stepping foot into an indoor space.

Sara Zaltash and her Ah-Be (in the direction of a rose) – Blue (dar maseereh yek goleh roz): a 573-day walking journey starting from the source of the River Thames along the waterways of Europe and the Caucasus to Tehran, planning to arrive to her destination on 15th October 2018. See Alessandra Ciannetti’s interview: https://performingborders.live/2016/09/14/sara-zaltash-september-2016/

Singaporean artist Amanda Heng’s Let’s Walk (since 1999), in which she and members of the public hold high-heeled shoes in their mouths and walk backward using handheld mirrors to guide themselves. The work was partly a response to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. http://artasiapacific.com/Magazine/70/AmandaHeng.’

Dr. Kai Syng Tan looks at running as an artistic practice.

Deirdre Heddon and Sue Porter’s project Walking Interconnections explored the walking experiences of disabled people and wheelchair users.

Canadian duo ARTIFACTS (Pam Patterson and Leena Raudvee) are both artists with disabilities and as they find it difficult to walk they devise performances where others walk for them.

An article by Leah Sanders discusses intersectional walking in a Canadian context and includes works by Camille Turner, Lisa Myers, Carmen Papalia, Jaime Koebel and Pamela Matharuhttp://canadianart.ca/features/step-step-artists-walk-resist-colonization-ableism/

Tristan Meecham and All The Queens Men create site-specific and walking based performances around LGTBQ issues, among other things.

Nando Messias has created a work called The Sissy’s Progress (2016) that confronts issues of homophobic violence on the streets through walking, spectacle and performance.

Other artists suggested include: Amira Hanafi, Mikyoung Jun Pearce, Yasmeen Sabri and Mona Hatoum’s Roadworks (all at last year’s Walking Women event).

In regards to the Situationist International: Abdelhafid Khatib and Mohamed Dahou were involved with the Situationists – Andrea Gibbons has an interesting piece on the movement’s failure to engage with racism here.

Adrian Piper’s work The Mythic Being (1973) saw her dressed in drag and traversing the streets as a black male with a large afro. You can read more about her work here: http://www.artnews.com/2013/10/25/piper-pulls-out-of-black-performance-art-show/

Chloë Bass, an American social practice artist who makes a variety of interventions in the city has also created walking works. You can read about We Walk the World Two by Two here: Living Maps Review. The content is free to access, but you have to create an account.

Saira Niazi wanders in London discovering it’s hidden gems: http://livinglon.co.uk/wanderings

Wales based visual artist Rabab Ghazoul also incorporates walking into her work.

Walis Johnson explores redlining in her walking work: http://www.redlinearchive.net.

While Bibi Calderaro incorporates walks into her social and environmental artistic research.

Paulette Leaphart walked topless to raise awareness about breast cancer: https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/478062/one-womans-1000-mile-topless-walk/.