Walking and Collecting Project, 2011-2012
For the past 6 months I have been talking daily walks around the neighborhood and city where I live. The walks I take are circular, beginning and ending in the same location, creating a circumference or border around a particular territory. I have begun to think of this boundary that I’m tracing with my body as way to map out the space and feel physically connected and invested in it.
Collecting small objects as I walk is a simple way for me to feel engaged in a landscape that I normally move through mechanically, and looking for the items as I walk allows me to concentrate on a specific aspect of my experience rather than trying to take in everything at once. I generally pick up one item per walk and that item comes to have a very particular relationship to that specific walk. A piece of twisted wire might remind me of the shape my walking route would make if seen from an aerial view. A piece of broken glass might be the same color as the shirt I am wearing. A scrap from a hand-written note might bring to mind a memory, a poem or a song. Other times an object I come upon simply seems to visually or conceptually correspond to whatever it is I am thinking about while walking. Whatever the initial draw to the object, once I pick it up, it accompanies me on the remainder of my walk. Feeling the weight of it in my coat pocket, running my hand over it absentmindedly as I walk, it begins to feel precious and personal.
In addition to picking up an object on each walk, I also record the shape of my walking route as though seen from an aerial perspective. I record these routes from memory and it is a way to physically retrace the path that I took and possess a portion of my time in the landscape. The recorded shape of the walk and the found object are the only tangible things that I have to show from my walking experience and they stands in for the other, intangible aspects that are resistant to representation