On 1st and the 2nd October 2020 the RC went on a walk:
N: #The Plan: (so this was the actual email-text right?) We leave on the 1st October around 10 from Brussels to Verviers and walk form there a slow path to Solwaster. Taking breaks to talk, probably read, forage and prepare us for Elke. We cook, eat, chat and sleep at Elke's that night.
In the morning of the 2nd we take Elke with us and walk on. We easily can talk about the path in the evening before. To take a long route through the Hautes Fagnes might be nice. To go more south can be nice as well.
The over night stay on Friday night (3rd) would be outside - in case the wether allows us. We will find a spot. Let's take some simple gear with us to cook water and put something on the fire. I would sleep outside. If you prefer, take a tent. In the morning we would go early and take a coffee somewhere and a train or bus in the next possible station. Might be Eupen? Might be Trois-Ponts? who knows. I should be back in Brussels the early afternoon.
- Michele will send a corona regulation plan for this trip. Please read it carefully.
- Travel and stay will be payed by a.pass. Food we buy ourselves.
On the walk:
I would like to give space for discussing a bigger perspective over the artistic trajectory of each one. What does this year as associate researcher at a.pass mean for us? Where does it stand in process of the artistic trajectory? Where does it stand in the picture of societal, political or spiritual developments? What does it mean to be abel to publish something - that ‚thing' that might be already half in your mind - with regard to these trajectory and developments?
I don't want to overload the expectations into this year and the performative publishing with big expectations, but i think it might be good, to think about a bigger individual picture in relation to a bigger terrestrial picture. For this picture, I think, Elke can be a very good reflector, listener, and probably stimulator.
It might be nice to think about a good rhythm of walking, talking and taking breaks from both. Let’s all think about this and how to approach this perspective. We can discuss the ‚score‘ on the evening of the 1st.
Revisiting that Walk
To start reflecting about our experience I would like to ask:
What does walking?
(Breg) I'm thinking back now on how my walking experience, in time and space between Verviers en Solwaster, brought out a more grounded way of making connections (between the indivdual and it's surroundings, and probably also between us as a group). I'm wondering how, or to what extend, in our previous (online) meetings the limitations of screens and words generated an exchange that was reflecting a 'one-sidedness' in our relationships. I'm wondering how this other - offline - shared time and space triggered a different engagement to our common process.
walking situates you in space (bodily engagement with the physical space); you are forced to pay attention to where you go; you have to read the affordances and constraints of the space in order to proceed with the walk; walking sets you in motion and forces you to interact with space; walking is the reading and writing of space [j.f.augoyard], you read it and at the same time you intervene on it (Breg) Yes, it disrupts straightforward thinking, bending off the discours on a slippery wooden bridge over a small river. well, i guess it depends on the walk - city-walk would be quite a different experience with the AR-agenda (AR?) = Artistic Research Right :) (Breg)So a different environment makes a different discourse? in case we would go for an urban walk, i think that, in order to be able to listen to each other we would be forcerd to search for quiet areas, spots where we can establish satisfying and meaningful conversations (parking lots, outskirts of the city, ...) (Breg) Yes, and besides this practical level, could it influence the content of the talk? How is a discourse situated in a spatial environment? How is the relationality of discourse influenxed by the environment in which it 'takes place'. I'm thinking back about our week in Zsenne. How our singular AR's were situated in this 'white cube', how we were 'not really there' maybe. A laboratory setup for Artistic Research, disconnecting it with it's own situatedness? How does the spatiality in which a discourse takes place, influence the discourse? How does it position and inform the speakers and the listeners? How does it inform a shared experience. Ranciere calls this 'situation' a tool to make metapolitical structures visible. Being exposed to that 'different' environment and the underlying awareness of this difference (incuding the rain dropping from your coat, including the hurting feet) puts you consciousness into constant relational field. The bird sound that we lisstened to at lunch, the green grass the shift from suburb to agricultured etc. all this had the chance to be synapsed to thoughts and contexts of the researches we are carrying in our backpacks. Walking makes your feet hurt, because the shoes are too heavy for the little legs they flop around and bend in ways they are not really used to. And then they poke into your calves when you try to sit because they are stiff and your floppy legs are soft and bendy so that hurts as well.
(they can also hurt because you have fashionable street shoes which may not be best for all occasions) But this should not be a problem if you can put some moth and fernleaf in your shoos;-)
going out is dangerous...lately even more so...meeting real people is a special occasion, meeting real trees means you can't meet real people.
If you can't talk to people, because they are shouting at you, just talk to their cows. If you feel misunderstood by cows, just star talking to trees.
(Breg) Let's stay a little bit longer with the trees. walking should encourage or mobilise memories to be released from the body [very nice] - that's from some book about native americans and I bet it was scientifically proven - that walking is healthy or a good aid for thinking, there must be a bunch of really important men recorded to be walking up and down their cosy rooms just before a very important idea was born. On a more general note - how our bodies contribute to the aesthetics of our thoughts is a work of a philosopher Richard Shusterman - called somaesthetics. (Breg) Albert Speer (not my idol), had a big garden, where he walked in every day, counting the cumulated distance. (so one day he would arrive to Lisbon, and another day, many years later to Buenos Aires).
The walking outfit is an important part of the activity itself, and took a long time to compose because it has to be watertight and not too heavy/big. The outfit walks as well as the outfit-wearer. I looked amazing, for one. (you did!) The walking also makes exciting feelings like you're going on a school trip, something out of the ordinary. But the knowing there will be artistic research makes a certain type of anticipation, and a feeling of dread as well that's the institutional side, the role of the curators; like: why can't I just be walking? Why does there need to be AR always? So the walking might cause a delay for the research, wanting to stay in the excitement a bit longer, in the being outside of ones domestic environment. Its a looking away, a distraction from something.
Walking makes you want to do other things than work, but then thinking about work is also more fun when walking becuase you talk to a friend, you're hanging out. Or a family member, because I often walk with family. Then I also always talk about work, because that's what we talk about mostly in general.
I was quite ashonished about how fast we fell into a two by two walking pattern [i'm wondering if it was the size of the roads and trails that we took that actually forced us to walk in pairs... what if walked on larger trails with no cars passying by... just a note about how space affords certain actions and prevent others to happen] (desert). It made sense to me, we could easily follow a timing, a way of talking and the subject that felt right in that moment.
It's the opposite of the online meetings, which are frontal, often with the group, no asides or environmental distractions or rhythm. Never side to side.
! (Breg)rename me - what do you want us to do with this? I cannot access it, it says not found (Breg) Its a picture, should be visible in the read-zone. Just checked... it's huge for some reason. Haha it's amazing, seeing the picture is like a walk in itself. Indeed, huge...i enjoy the tech mimicry of our natural encounter in nature...you actually need to move your hed up and down
It seems in order to take in and manage all the massive amount of stimuli around and be able to relate to the task at hand - talk about y(our) research - it is easier and more concentrated totalk to only one person at the time. Pairings did happen spontaneusly and different points for entering the talk and the reflection process were always decided by the pair, even if not conciously deciding. the mutual history of each pairing was also part of how the conversation and the reflection entered the environment. Getting lost and always re-deciding the path had also the effect of resetting the talks, either because you changed co-walkers or because you had to re-calibrate the conversation into what you thought the talking task was. i like the fact that there's something bigger than you that sets out the conditions and you cannot avoid that (rain, wrong directions, shoes...); it's like being forced to come to terms with the rest; so your talking and ideas, all of a sudden, are not so important anymore as you have to sort out other primary things and needs (warm place, waterproof jackets, ...)
The same as with our erring through the fields, I feel that we arrived to elke's with lots bits and pieces: ideas, findings, questions, no-ideas. It was only in the 'around the table' configuration that we heard yet another version of our research/talking paths. I vividly remember a sense of 'newness' in each of us' tales, apparently heard many times before. It might be because our listening got attuned with elke's, an external yet very acute ear and we were all listening and speaking from a different place, maybe more attentive, or just hearing from a place where you have heard the overall path already and now you see it from afar. You are able to zoom in on different things, or to contextualize the whole thing differently.
Yeah I recognise a lot in what you say. The tiredness and Elke being present helped to get rid of existing 'frames'. I also remember there was a huge (critical) openness towards the 'frame' a.pass offers us as a group. Maybe the physical effect of the walk made us speak more freely [totally; that's what informality does], and by doing that we could actually re-calibrate our positions.... Davide, what made this informality possible, more than just a change of setting? Yes, let's talk about these frames... There is something about status in this. Or un-status. Or un-stable. Or un-established.
The walking brings birds and cows and two little goats into the frame. There are always so many birds around and when you don't know them you might not see them, but putting in the effort to see them you understand that there is a whole network a whole life above and in urban environments where you don't expect to think of birds. They don't care about what you know, they exist anyway. Esteban says that that's a bit like Pia's research where the periphery gets drawn into it, the things we don't see. Or how does a research operate as an ecology. I'm really curious to know where for Pia the perifery of her Zsenne-workshop was situated. And whether a delocation of the focus is handy. does walking and AR-talking give you a sense of constant chance to start anew I actually thought it's the other way round. There was first AR and tehn we also walk. We give feet to AR amd make it mooving. Whings would be different. Feet have a better paste for me. There was this sense of starting anew. This was partly caused by the new eyes of Elke, because she didn't know us we could be different than before. I was also just thinking that I was sometimes struggling because of that, sometimes it feels like I'm starting the whole project over again every time I explain it, it almost falls apart and then I can barely manage to save a little, and whatever is saved, it will have to do. "but you don't know what it's like in my head! It's beautiful!" It still came out quite nicely Pia, don't worry. For me the talk with Elke, took away some pressure of the be-smart-because-you-only-have-one-chance kind of energy. The 'elevator' pitch of my AR became suddenly a moldable, changeable, multifaceted organisme, that can speak up in different ways, in different contexts. This mantra of repeating, adjusting, repeating and adjusting again enables new things to be born. we should do some self-interviews and then share it - with some particular score how to repeat our research-story, actually i know just one...(Rather therapeutical though) "at last the tension is gone" i'm pretty sure this line comes from a film, but i forget which one...
this endless sedimentation or the alternative is obsessive documentation... obesssive documentation with no stable support... we usually find solace in documentation there might be something else in this will to document, which is when you are in the process of documenting, or rather sending your documentation to others you observe yourself and hear yourself differently. because you want to make all possible available to the others, then you start wondering: what are the blind spots in my story? how am i connecting one thing with the other? a bit as if you were guiding them through your path in the forest so you would also have to give them the tools to follow you through it. You kind of witness your own talking as a potential map for somebody else to get somewhere, maybe not even to the same place. a magic-walk-line in the forest yes :-) the crumbs of bread we leave in our path to be able to return unless they rotten...and disappear 🤷🏽♀️ they are meant to be eaten by birds, or rotten
it seems that you're walking in two-s yet again...:D
walking in nature or anywhere for that matter seems to lend a new architecture to the thinking, so you can recompartamentalise the ideas or concepts, spread them around, anchor them to new things, so the meanings are a bit wiggled out of their habitaul positions...
I wonder who these new characters are, this fresh feeling, and what they will become.
We not only walked, we also eat - at Elke's but also hosted by Lili :-)
What different qualities of talking and thinking enabled these modes?
Needing to eat creates a state of alarm, as does exhaustion. This can create a curtain urgency to the conversation: something needs to happen now.... also of course it's the sitting down: now the work starts, now we're "getting somewhere" or maybe we "gotten somewhere". there is a conclusion to be found, where the walking was more in flux. There is also restlesness, the desire for rest but the delay of the actual thing itself, the food is not digested yet, we finally arrived at our host but the host is busy, making us food. well, talking while eating I find is always a particular mode of communication - it's a certain depth of the conversation, not too deep, so the whole body can still support/assist the digestion, not too many distractions, as the senses are focused on other things...
Then there was also the lunch, where we were sort of sitting in a circle, which promptly turned it into a group meeting. The sitting down on the floor, with all of our big backpacks cast off and looking around and also very much towards to floor made me feel like we were a group of teenagers. The conversation made me feel like I had been there before: what kind of group are we? What makes us into a group? I don't know how to put the questions. What ... I think apass has the urge to see us working together and publish together as a group. I see this as their concern, not necessarily mine. I think there is a bit too much emphasis here on the group. It seems like we are already talking about our new album without even knowing how we play together. I do think there is a general urge to enable possible conversations amogst individual practices and by that to get an understanding of underlying common contents and contexts withing which our individual practices take place. There is no urge to talk or publish as a gruop.
Probably: What does it mean to work in parallel on individual publications? Waht does it mean to walk all together on the notion of performative publishing? Walking throuhg the landscape has similare two qualities: We walk in parallel and walk as a swarm. We talk in pairs and talk all at ones. In both cases there is an implicite supportive background influencing, or at least givin a diraction to talking. There is undoubtably something theatircal in it: going on a walk or being invited is somehow a mise-en-sceine. something is amplified and can be amplified by these stages. Did we perform? If this was performance it's still the question wether the landscape or we are the stage.
(Potetially this structure of having conversations in pairs and having discussions as a group could be a way of structuring a common publication.)
we can try that; what's the next question?
Probably that: If you look into your notes and memories, is there anything, that you think appeares as a common ground? Something that appares as a common discourse we are influenced by?
[This question placed I'm leaving now! The chat will stay open. It would be good to continue writing on and off in the next days and try to complete our notes till the next time we see us. ]