System Walks

 

I am interested in walking, as it is a direct way of experiencing a place qualitatively, and a useful way of capturing data quantitatively. I turn a walk into an art system called 'System Walks'. These are representative of both the environment and sense of place. The walks I make are a private performance that is recorded. Collecting experience and information through walking is a personal attempt to bring the technological approach of spatial analysis in the forms of GIS and GPS along side the surrealist, aesthetic and impressionistic approach of visual art.

 

This duality of objective and subjective is accommodated in the ideas of Psychogeography. The origins of Psychogeography can be traced back, primarily to Paris and to Charles Baudelaire’s 1863 essay, The Painter of Modern Life in which he described the Flâneur, "a person who walks the city in order to experience it". This idea of the passive stroller was transformed in the 1920’s by the founder of surrealism André Breton who used the urban stroll as a tool to challenge perceptions of reality. Following on from the surrealist walks 'The Situationist International', under the direction of Guy Debord did much to define Psychogeography as it is understood today. At the heart of Psychogeography was the aim of combining subjective and objective knowledge and studies and Debord attempted to resolve this inherent paradox in his 1958 book "Theory of the Dérive".

 

My work also references environmental art and artists, such as Richard Long, Hamish Fulton and Robert Smithson. Like these conceptual Land Artists my walks have a systematic and conceptual basis, although at the heart of my process I am seeking to find the point where I can transcend the system in both walking and mapping terms and express a deeper essence of the place, as articulated in Heidegger’s conceptions of place and topology in “Being and Time”, (1978).