Walking Together – Ten years of performance making and walking

Year: 2019

Author: Bourke, Lenine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Walking Neighbourhood is a ten-year body of work between a series of collaborators. This collection of walking performances across Australia, Korea, Thailand, Finland and Denmark started as a way for children, their families, and communities to address concerns about safety and public space. What quickly became evident was the lack of autonomy for children in public. Each walking project becomes an anarchive, as it becomes a “feed-forward mechanism for lines of creative process, under continuing variation” (Massumi, 2016, p. 6-7). Each walking event creates a site for the team to learn from site specific pedagogies. Each walk reveals new understandings about walking as a creative practice and a method for community engagement. Slowly over time this body of work re-creates an opportunity for artists to experiment, co-create, collaborate, unpack, forecast, play, dissolve and re-make while working between languages, locations, identities, politics and contemporary art preferences. This paper, which is guided by practice-led research, is led by the following question: What qualities do site specific locations provide to a practitioner, participant, audience or public in engaging in contemporary arts for public pedagogic purposes? This question continues to de-stabilise this project, making the artists grow and modify their processes continually. Working outdoors in various locations and climates, with diverse sovereign owners and publics, with governance and surveillance, creates complicated place to make art. This paper will outline some of the conceptual considerations for walking methodologies with children and their communities in a contemporary arts context. These considerations span representation and non-representational nuances, from the person to the land, from the art to the lived experience, from hope to fear and back again.

NOTE: This will be a practice lead paper which incorporates theoretical concepts. However, where possible delivered in plain English, as a political act, against the exclusionary languages used by educational institutions.

Masumi, B. (2016) Working Principles, The go-to How to book of Anarchiving, Senslab, Montreal.