Berkeley Art and Interreligious Pilgrimage Project


The Art of Walking (Chair: Judith Rodenbeck, UC Riverside)

College Art Association Conference NY

From the wanderers of Caspar David Friedrich or the flaneurs of Charles Baudelaire to Paul Klee taking a line for a walk or Ghandi leading the Salt March to the Wall Street crawls of William Pope L or the sonic scapes of Janet Cardiff, the activity of walking has been thematized as resistance--whether to the speed of capital and the logics of the imperium or simply to the rushed pace and sheer business of contemporary life. A dérive interrupting thoughtless transit from a to b, the embodied practice of walking is, deliberately undertaken, a mode of thinking as well as doing. This panel aims to investigate the walk in contemporary artistic practice. Themes may include: the mechanics of ambulation; walking as thought, as escape, as flight, as penance, as punishment, as pilgrimage; self-powered movement as forensic, slow, embodied, as individuated and collective--walking as, to borrow from the critic Mario Pedrosa, an "experimental practice of freedom." Presentations are welcome to range across an array of topics and modalities, from address to physiological basics-–the foot, the human form, bipedalism, gravity—to physical and spatial exercises and thought experiments to specific cultural and geopolitical examples, with particular attention to the contemporary explosion in art-walking as a sophisticated collective and ecological, even ethological, response to hypermodernity.