breaking down the walk: part 2
Once in the exhibition space, I set up two pieces of paper on opposite walls and walked backwards and forwards between them for the same amount of time as the original walk (2h 14m 01s 95cs). In doing this, I had essentially brought the entirety of the 7.3 miles route into the just under 5m wide room.
I deliberately chose to place my work so that the first sheet was near the entrance and the other fully inside the room, to be representative of the fact that this work has moved from outside the house to within.
The act of walking backwards and forwards as well as the tally marks themselves are very significant here. Pacing suggests a restlessness and feeling of containment, this plays off of the context of the safehouse in a very dark way, although also suggests prisoners counting days or children drawing on walls with brightly coloured crayons. There is a franticness that juxtaposes the system in which it is contained (contained both physically and within my decided process).
Something I struggled with with this piece was how to show my process to the viewer without giving away too much. I know that London is contained between the papers, but how will anyone else? The tallies on their own can be seen as a kind of minimalist painting – an abstract, meaningless painting.
Honestly, I don’t mind this as a reading of my work, however, I was keen to explore how I can reveal more of my ideas, especially when the work was up in the safehouse. I considered creating lines using dust or paint or something so my journey would be visible, but this felt like too much. I also thought about displaying my entire “report” alongside the piece, or showing the full video of the walk, however, this would feel very disjointed like a piece and an explanation for a piece, rather than one coherent thing. In the end I put up the instructions for my walk (road names, turnings etc) next to one of the papers. The format mirrored both the scroll and a kind of road which alludes to the journey taken without explaining exactly what each tally represents. I was careful to place the two scrolls exactly opposite each other to reinforce a relationship between the two. I don’t think I was completely successful and the work definitely required some kind of an explanation so as not to be seen as just an abstract piece. This is something I want to really focus on going forward.