TEXT AS ART

Joi T. Arcand, Northern Pawn, South Vietnam, 2009
Joi T. Arcand is a photo-based artist and industrial sculptor from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, and she knows that words, that letter forms, shapes and glyphs, “change the visual landscape,” that they are how we go about practicing new ways of looking. Words are emotional architectures, and Arcand calls hers “Future Earth.”

Here on Future Earth is a series of photographs that Arcand produced in 2010. In a phone interview, Arcand explained to me that this is where her photo-based practice and her interest in textuality synched. Arcand wants us to think about these photographs as documents of “an alternative present,” of a future that is within arm’s reach.

For this series, Arcand manipulated signs and replaced their slogans and names with Cree syllabics. By doing this, Arcand images something of a present beside itself and therefore loops us into a new mode of perception, one that enables us to attune to the rogue possibilities bubbling up in the thick ordinariness of everyday life. Arcand wanted to see things “where they weren’t.”

Hers is not a utopian elsewhere we need to map out via an ethos of discovery. Rather, Arcand straddles the threshold of radical hope. She asks us to orient ourselves to the world as if we were out to document or to think back on a future past. That is, Arcand rendered these photographs with a pink hue and a thick, round border, tapping into what she calls “the signifiers of nostalgia.” Importantly, these signifiers are inextricably bound to the charisma of words, to the emotional life of the syllabics. The syllabics are what enunciate; they potentiate a performance of world-making that does not belong to the mise-en-scene of settlement.”

Text and Image: https://canadianart.ca/features/optics-language-joi-t-arcand-looks-words/
Joi T. Arcand, Amber Motors, 2009
Image: https://canadianart.ca/features/optics-language-joi-t-arcand-looks-words/
YOKO ONO, Grapefruit, 1964
Conversation Piece, an event score from Grapefruit, 1964.

“Ono’s event scores were intended to replace a physical work of art with written instructions or suggestions for acts that the person experiencing them could create. Pulse Piece, for example, suggests, “Listen to each other’s pulse by putting your ear on the other’s stomach. 1963 Winter.” The activities usually highlight a simple day-to-day activity. Often considered a Fluxus work, Grapefruit has become a monument of conceptual art. The title comes from the way Ono felt about herself: a hybrid between American and Japanese identities, the way a grapefruit is a hybrid between a lemon and an orange.”

Text and Image:
https://www.swanngalleries.com/news/art-press-illustrated-books/2017/06/grapefruit-yoko-ono-guide-living-art/
Yoko Ono, The RIVERBED, 2018
Laurel Woodcock, wish you were here, 2003
wish you were here (2003), a series of aerial-banner letters, references the popular postcard message. Woodcock draws our attention to ubiquitous phrases and words whose definition we take at face value, and we are happy to find that in a contemporary context, old phrases can be given new life. With her characteristic wit, the artist reveals that nothing is static.”

Image: https://canadianart.ca/news/news-brief-remembering-laurel-woodcock/
Text:https://canadianart.ca/reviews/laurel-woodcock/
Laurel Woodcock, on a clear day, 2010
“Language is more than inspiration for Woodcock: it is raw material, awaiting manipulation and reinterpretation. Rather than invent new phrases or author original prose and poetry, Woodcock explores the ability of common language to become layered with multiple and unexpected meanings; when presented in new contexts, familiar words, symbols and sayings acquire new significance while retaining reference to their primary definitions.
Woodcock treats words as ready-made or found objects, often lifting phrases from songs and screenplays. on a clear day (2010), four sky-blue aluminum panels originally produced for the Toronto Now space at the Art Gallery of Ontario, borrows its title phrase from two films:Gaby Dellal’s On a Clear Day (2005) and Vincente Minnelli’s On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970).”

image and text: https://canadianart.ca/reviews/laurel-woodcock/
Laurence Weiner, Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole, 2004
“Photograph of Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole, by Lawrence Weiner, laser-cut aluminum typography on brick. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.”

“Lawrence Weiner’s texts have appeared in all sorts of places over the last five decades, and although he sees himself as a sculptor rather than a conceptualist, he is among the trailblazers of the 1960s to present art as language. He defines his sculptural medium simply as ‘language + the material referred to’ in the sense that language is a material for construction. Accordingly, his first book Statements (1968) contains 24 typewritten descriptions of works, where only a few had actually been made, suggesting that a work’s existence requires a readership rather than a physical presence. Self-taught as an artist, his urgency to make art broadly available and engaging stems, he says, from his childhood in the South Bronx: “I didn’t have the advantage of a middle-class perspective. Art was something else; art was the notations on the wall, or the messages left by other people. I grew up in a city where I had read the walls; I still read the walls. I love to put work of mine out on the walls and let people read it. Some will remember it and then somebody else comes along and puts something else over it. It becomes archaeology rather than history.” (2013) While Weiner’s works exist only as language and can be displayed in any form, he is closely involved in manifestations, detailing the size of the font, the surface texture and placement of the paint or vinyl letters and indeed often inventing new fonts. Texts appear on walls and windows of galleries and public spaces, as spoken word in audio recordings and video, printed books and posters, cast or carved objects, tattoos, graffiti, lyrics, online, ad infinitum. “

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WeinerText.JPG
text: https://www.lissongallery.com/artists/lawrence-weiner
Jenny Holzer, All Fall Text: Truisms, 1977-79 (in English and Spanish); Living, 1980-82 and Survival, 1983-85
“Jenny Holzer turns common public objects into subversive artworks bearing powerful words. She engraves poetic statements about power, feminism, and individual agency into benches made from streaked Carrara marble, spotted granite, and royal blue-tinged sodalite. Holzer renders her phrases in all-caps and serif lettering, turning them into monumental proclamations: “PROTECT ME FROM / WHAT I WANT,” “IT IS IN YOUR SELF-INTEREST / TO FIND A WAY TO BE VERY TENDER,” “RAISE BOYS AND GIRLS THE SAME WAY.” They become creative mandates in shared spaces and benevolent counterpoints to state directives.
If Holzer’s benches transform public park fixtures into artistic media, her LED banners co-opt a structure associated with commerce and advertising. On screens that would typically promote sales, company names, or stock market updates, Holzer broadcasts punchy phrases such as “DON’T TALK DOWN TO ME” or “WITNESS,” along with longer, looping messages. The artist often repurposes her poetic phrases, or “Truisms,” building their power through repetition. (One of Holzer’s most famous messages, “ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE,” has been readopted as a protest mantra in the #MeToo era.)
“I like placing content wherever people look,” Holzer told fellow artist Kiki Smith
 in a conversation for Interview Magazine, “and that can be at the bottom of a cup or on a shirt or hat or on the surface of a river or all over a building.” Holzer turns the public realm into her exhibition space, gifting her thoughtful poetry to anyone who wants to sit or read a sign.”

Image and text: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-13-artists-highlight-power
Jenny Holzer, Truisms, 1980-
Image: http://gallery.98bowery.com/wp-content/uploads/Jen-Holzer-Truisms.jpg
http://classes.dma.ucla.edu/Spring05/25/artists.php?name=holzer&works=3
Jenny Holzer, Survival Series, 1986
http://classes.dma.ucla.edu/Spring05/25/artists.php?name=holzer&works=3
Shelley Niro, The Shirt (detail), 2003
Shelley Niro, The Shirt (detail), 2003.____ Uploaded by: Whyte, Murray

“In “The Shirt” – a video that debuted at the 2003 Venice Biennale – Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) artist and director Shelley Niro parodies the archetypal tourist tee-shirt from the point of view of First Nations Peoples as an exploration into the lasting effects of European colonialism in North America. Facing the camera directly and poised against the landscape of “America”, an Aboriginal woman with biker-like accessories bears a sequential series of statements on her tee-shirt that together comprise a discourse on colonialism. The darkly ironic and yet brutally truthful messages of “The Shirt” draw attention to the history of invasion that indigenous peoples have experienced in North America. By presenting the tee-shirts as souvenirs and memories of these impositions, Niro’s work suggests that the consequences of colonialism are still active today. The Shirt is an ironic and humorous take on colonialism enacted through text on T-shirts worn by an Aboriginal woman (artist Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie). Directly facing the camera with the landscape of “America” as a backdrop, the woman poses in shirts that bear a sequential series of statements that together comprise a discourse on North America’s troubled past.”

Text:https://www.gallery.ca/collection/artwork/the-shirt
Image: https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2017/05/21/shelley-niro-the-way-of-the-subtle-warrior.html
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989
“Much of Kruger’s work pairs found photographs with pithy and assertive text that challenges the viewer. Her method includes developing her ideas on a computer, later transferring the results (often billboard-sized) into images.[5] Examples of her instantly recognizable slogans read “I shop therefore I am,” and “Your body is a battleground,” appearing in her trademark white letters against a red background. Much of her text calls attention to ideas such as feminismconsumerism, and individual autonomy and desire, frequently appropriating images from mainstream magazines and using her bold phrases to frame them in a new context.
Kruger has said that “I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren’t.”[15] A larger category that threads through her work is the appropriation and alteration of existing images. In describing her use of appropriation, Kruger states:
Pictures and words seem to become the rallying points for certain assumptions. There are assumptions of truth and falsity and I guess the narratives of falsity are called fictions. I replicate certain words and watch them stray from or coincide with the notions of fact and fiction.[16]

Image and Text: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Kruger#/media/File:Untitled_(Your_body_is_a_battleground).jpg
Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am), 1987
Image: https://www.widewalls.ch/consumerist-culture-art-10-artworks/
BARBARA KRUGER: BELIEF+DOUBT 2012–ONGOING
Part of an initiative to bring art to new sites within and around the building, this installation by Barbara Kruger fills the Lower Level lobby and extends into the newly relocated Museum bookstore. Famous for her incisive photomontages, Kruger has focused increasingly over the past two decades on creating environments that surround the viewer with language. The entire space—walls, floor, escalator sides—is wrapped in text-printed vinyl, immersing visitors in a spectacular hall of voices, where words either crafted by the artist or borrowed from the popular lexicon address conflicting perceptions of democracy, power, and belief.

At a moment when ideological certitude and purity seem especially valued, Kruger says she’s “interested in introducing doubt.” Large areas of the installation are devoted to open-ended questions (“WHO IS BEYOND THE LAW? WHO IS FREE TO CHOOSE? WHO SPEAKS? WHO IS SILENT?”), while the section occupying the bookstore explores themes of desire and consumption. At once addressing the individual, the museum, and, symbolically, the country, Kruger’s penetrating examination of the public sphere transforms one of the Hirshhorn’s key public spaces.

Text + Image: https://hirshhorn.si.edu/exhibitions/barbara-kruger-beliefdoubt/
Bruce Nauman, Eat Death, (1972)
Image: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/arts/design/bruce-nauman-art-provocateur-returns-are-you-ready.html

“Much of his work is characterized by an interest in language, often manifesting itself as visual puns. He has an interest in setting the metaphoric and descriptive functions of language against each other. For example, the neon Run From Fear – Fun From Rear, or the photograph Bound To Fail, which literalizes the title phrase and shows the artist’s arms tied behind his back. He seems to be fascinated by the nature of communication and language’s inherent problems, as well as the role of the artist as supposed communicator and manipulator of visual symbols.”
Text: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Nauman
Bruce Nauman, American Violence, 1982
“A second strand of Nauman’s work reflects his fascination with language; he often works with puns, double meanings, and idioms. In Eleven Color Photographs (1966–1967), an early photographic series, he physically staged such popular expressions as “Feet of Clay” or “Eating My Words.” Later, Nauman formed fluorescent neon tubing into words. Examples such as RAW-WAR (1971), EAT/DEATH (1972), or LIFE, DEATH, LOVE, HATE, PLEASURE, PAIN (1983) illuminate and overlay each word in alternating colors. The series invites focus on the materiality of the neon tubing (which at that time was more typically used in industrial or commercial applications) as well as the materiality of language itself. “

Text and Image: https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/human-nature-life-death-knows-doesn%E2%80%99t-know-bruce-nauman/vwFYkbSOKHQcxA
Christian Bök & Micah Lexier, Two Equal Texts, 2007
Image: https://micahlexier.tumblr.com/
Micah Lexier, Here, Not Here (Dark Blue), 2017
“Lexier’s art is not complicated, and no deep meaning lurks beneath its laconic phrases and gestures. It very simply commemorates the events that stand out with special freshness in the artist’s life, especially his collaborations with the writers, printers, designers and others who contributed to the realization of each piece.”

Website: http://micahlexier.com/
text: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/micah-lexier-weve-got-his-number/article4319088/

Image: http://birchcontemporary.com/artist/micah-lexier
Micah Lexier, visual artist and 2015 Canada Council laureate – a film by by Min-Sook Lee
Michael Fernandes, Arrivals/Departures, 2010
“What are you up to? Who are you? What do you miss? What do you want? What did you do? What will you be? What are your plans? What are you missing? What has happened? Where have you been? Where are you heading? A few of the possible set of questions that prompters will ask you. Then, your responses are transcribed onto large blackboards. The aim of this participatory project is to solicit and register a broad sense of ‘travel’. With continuous prying, the prompters encourage responses that are based on life experience, interpersonal relationships as well as the specifics of being ‘here’ and ‘there’. Nothing will be censored. Nothing will be repeated. All misspellings, colloquialisms, slangs, languages will be included. Expressions of mobility in its myriad forms are compiled on the blackboards as they fill up-transitions, transformations, hopes, desires, exiles, reflections and realizations. The significant to and fros of a lifetime are intermixed with musings on the immediate coming and goings of your Nuit Blanche itinerary. The blackboards present the compiled statements on how each of us perceive his or her time and place. The writing on the large boards creates a composition made of a multitude of voices, a poignant reflection of the city in all of its complexity.”

Text: http://ccca.concordia.ca/nuitblanche/nuitblanche2010/artists/c4.html
Images: https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2010/10/arrivals-and-departures/
Jose Andres Mora, Continuous Script, 2019
Jose Andres Mora is a current MFA candidate at the University of Guelph
Jose Andres Mora, Reeler, 2019
website: http://joseamora.com/
vimeo: https://vimeo.com/joseandresmora
Mel Bochner , Blah Blah Blah, 2016
“Many artists working with words offer profound written statements in their work. Mel Bochner’s most famous pieces, in contrast, simply read “BLAH / BLAH / BLAH.” The artist plasters the essentially meaningless phrase on billboards and jams it in block letters across brightly colored paintings. The artist seems most interested in highlighting the banalities of contemporary communication. A 2017 monoprint, for example, juxtaposes collaged phrases such as “OH WELL, THAT’S / THE WAY IT GOES,” “IT IS WHAT IT IS,” “WHAT CAN YOU DO?” and “SHIT HAPPENS.” Bochner elevates non-committal conversations and bromides to fine art. Reading them, the viewer can feel a little indicted. Who hasn’t leaned on some of those clichés when making small talk?
In another series, Bochner renders a group of synonyms—for words like “money,” “obscene,” “obvious,” or “amazing”—in rows. The viewer is forced to consider both the subtleties of language and the garishness of English: We have an awful lot of ways to discuss commerce and convey hyperbole. Bochner’s style amplifies this sense of ornamentation; exclamation points and bright oranges, yellows, and reds abound.”

Image and Text: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-13-artists-highlight-power
Nadia Myre, Indian Act, 2002
“Indian Act speaks of the realities of colonization – the effects of contact, and its often-broken and untranslated contracts. The piece consists of all 56 pages of the Federal Government’s Indian Act mounted on stroud cloth and sewn over with red and white glass beads. Each word is replaced with white beads sewn into the document; the red beads replace the negative space.
Between 1999 and 2002, Nadia Myre enlisted over 230 friends, colleagues and strangers to help her bead over the Indian Act. With the help of Rhonda Meier, they organized workshops and presentations at Concordia University, and hosted weekly beading bees at Oboro Gallery, where it was presented as part of the exhibition, Cont[r]act, in 2002.”

Text and image: http://www.nadiamyre.net/#/indian-act/
Adam Pendleton, Black Dada, 2017
“Adam Pendleton’s raw material is language, but the artist often doesn’t care if his words make clear sense. His broad project “Black Dada,” which he began in 2008, co-opts the dreamlike, nonsensical aesthetics of European inter-war artists like Kurt SchwittersMax Ernst, and Salvador Dalí, repurposing them for Pendleton’s own concerns as a black American. In his 2017 painting If the function of dada, for example, Pendleton silkscreens, inks, and spray-paints so many black letters against his white canvas that the viewer struggles to decipher any messaging. It’s a perfect strategy to convey contemporary dissonance and chaos.
Not all of Pendleton’s work with text, however, is illegible. He’s appropriated phrases from writer Gertrude Stein, artist Ad Reinhardt, and musician Sun Ra, and frequently overlaid varying backdrops (photographs of bricks or an African mask) with the word “INDEPENDANCE.” For the 2015 Venice Biennale, he created large-scale wall works for the Belgian pavilion that replicated the words “Black Lives Matter” in a loose, graffiti-like scrawl.”

Text + image: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-13-artists-highlight-power
Guerrilla Girls, Guerrilla Girls Definition Of A Hypocrite, 1990
“The anonymous collective Guerilla Girls fits into a rich tradition of protest artists who employ words for explicitly political ends. In particular, the group uses language to reconsider gender discrimination and violence. “What do these men have in common?” one of their 1995 posters asks. Below the bold black wording, photographs of O.J. Simpson and minimalist artist Carl Andre
 appear. The answer to their provocation? The state accused both men of murdering women (Simpson: his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson; Andre: his wife Ana Mendieta). Both enjoyed acquittals and avoided jail time. The Guerilla Girls discuss the prevalence of domestic violence beneath the pictures. They also include a tagline at the bottom: “A public service message from Guerilla Girls conscience of the art world.”
Another famous work, Do Women Have to Be Naked to Get Into the Met Museum? (1989), critiques the lack of art by female practitioners in major institutions. Across the Guerilla Girls’s oeuvre, wry ideology becomes an art form. Their messaging—and its situation within the institutions it critiques—supersedes all other aesthetic concerns.”

Image and Text: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-13-artists-highlight-power
bpNichol, First Screening, 1984
bpNichol (Barrie Phillip Nichol, 1944-1988) was one of Canada’s leading experimental writers. He was an inventive force who blurred the boundaries between genres and played joyfully with textual strategies, techniques, and processes. His inspiring range of groundbreaking works include poetry, stories, essays, operas, musicals, comic books, collage, computer poems, spoken word, and television. In 1983/84, he used an Apple computer and programming language to create a series of kinetic computer poems. “
Text and video: https://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/trl/2015/09/bp.html
bpNichol, Blues, 1968
Eleanor King, No Justice No Peace, 2015
Latex Paint on Wall, 80FT x 12FT
The Peekskill Project, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

Image:http://eleanorking.com/index.php?/projects/wall-texts/
Jon Rubin, The Last Billboard, 2010-2018
Above Text by Alisha Wormsley

“Founded in 2010, The Last Billboard was a 36 foot long rooftop billboard located on the corner of Highland and Baum in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Each month a different artist was invited to use the billboard. The custom designed billboard consisted of a rail system with wooden letters that were changed by hand.

The Last Billboard ended operations in April, 2018 after artist Alisha Wormsley’s text was removed from the billboard by the property’s landlord under pressure from area developers. “

Image and text: https://www.thelastbillboard.com/about
Lenka Clayton, Fruit and Other Things, 2018
Fruit and Other Things
Collaboration with Jon Rubin / Carnegie International 57th Edition 2018, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh

Full Project Website

“From 1896 to 1931 the Carnegie International selected artworks for its exhibitions from an international competition. The museum kept meticulous records, not only of all the works accepted, but of those rejected as well. Only the title, artist’s names, and the year of each work were recorded, no images exist. Over this 35 year span, 10,632 artworks were rejected from the exhibitions. For the duration of the 57th Carnegie International, each of the 10,632 rejected titles were made into individual hand-lettered text paintings. Each text painting was exhibited for a day, and then given away to visitors.”

Text and image: https://www.fruitandotherthings.com/home
Germaine Koh, Dear Mercer, 2006
“A form letter in various formats, used as my participation in fundraising events.
unlimited series”

text and image: http://germainekoh.com/ma/projects_detail.cfm?pg=projects&projectID=19
John Baldessari, Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell, 1966-1968

By 1966, Baldessari was using photographs and text, or simply text, on canvas.[2] His early major works were canvas paintings that were empty but for painted statements derived from contemporary art theory. An early attempt of Baldessari’s included the hand-painted phrase “Suppose it is true after all? WHAT THEN?” (1967) on a heavily worked painted surface. However, this proved personally disappointing because the form and method conflicted with the objective use of language that he preferred to employ. Baldessari decided the solution was to remove his own hand from the construction of the image and to employ a commercial, lifeless style so that the text would impact the viewer without distractions. The words were then physically lettered by sign painters, in an unornamented black font. The first of this series presented the ironic statement “A TWO-DIMENSIONAL SURFACE WITHOUT ANY ARTICULATION IS A DEAD EXPERIENCE” (1967).”
text: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Baldessari
image: https://imageobjecttext.com/tag/john-baldessari/

Walking as Art

Francis Alÿs, Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing, 1997
Mexico City 1997, 9:54min
Paradox of Praxis 1.

“Paradox of Praxis 1 (1997) is the record of an action carried out under the rubric of “sometimes making something leads to nothing.” For more than nine hours, Alÿs pushed a block of ice through the streets of Mexico City until it completely melted. And so for hour after hour he struggled with the quintessentially Minimal rectangular block until finally it was reduced to no more than an ice cube suitable for a whisky on the rocks, so small that he could casually kick it along the street.”

text and video: https://francisalys.com/sometimes-making-something-leads-to-nothing/
Francis Alÿs, The Green Line, 2004
https://glasstire.com/2012/11/23/the-ten-list-walk-as-art/
Jerusalem 2004, 17:41min
In collaboration with Philippe Bellaiche, Rachel Leah Jones, and Julien Devaux.

“Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic.”

“In the summer of 1995 I performed a walk with a leaking can of blue paint in the city of São Paulo.The walk was then read as a poetic gesture of sorts. In June 2004, I re-enacted that same performance with a leaking can of green paint by tracing a line following the portion of the ‘Green Line’ that runs through the municipality of Jerusalem. 58 liters of green paint were used to trace 24 km. Shortly after, a filmed documentation of the walk was presented to a number of people whom I invited to react spontaneously to the action and the circumstances within which it was performed.”

Text and video: https://francisalys.com/the-green-line/
Francis Alÿs, Cuentos patrióticos, 1997
Mexico City,1997, 25:36min
In collaboration with Rafael Ortega.

Video: https://francisalys.com/cuentos-patrioticos/
Francis Alÿs, Tornado, 2010
Tornado
Mexico, 2010, 00:42min
Eryn Foster, New Canadian Pilgramages, 2007 –
New Canadian Pilgrimages is an ongoing and evolving walking and art project . Previous NCP activities have include collaborative performances, talks, visual art projects, and various special events.

The first NCP walk (275km) took place in 2007 as part of OK Quoi! Performance Art Festival in Sackville New Brunswick.

New Canadian Pilgrimages: 2 (2008) was a 500 km walk around the perimeter and interior of Prince Edward Island. It included a gallery-based performative installation titled: “Virtual Pilgrimage Machine” that was installed at Struts Artist Run Centre in Sackville, New Brunswick. Visitors to the gallery could join me, virtually, while walking on the treadmill and talking to be on the telephone.

The third New Canadian Pilgrimages project was an 8 day walk that took place in 2010. Titled: Each of Your Five Fingers Represents 15 Minutes of Time, it took place from Sackville, NB to Fundy National Park via the Dobson Trail. (apx. 150 km)

The next New Canadian Pilgrimages will take place this summer, 2014 on Pictou Island in Nova Scotia. NCP:4 Pictou Island Portage, will be structured as a moving/walking artist residency that will also involve six additional artists from across Canada: Michael Waterman, Aimee Brown, Ursula Johnson, Sheilah Wilson, Doug Smarch, and Barbara Lounder.”

Image and text: http://erynfoster.ca/Works/New-Canadian-Pilgrimages-2007-ongoing
Michael Waterman’s Pirate Radio, NCP:4 Pictou Island Portage
Eryn Foster, walking and talking and not saying anything, 2013
“Participants in this four-hour walking tour around Halifax were requested to remain silent throughout the duration of the evening, and to only communicate through texting (or not at all). Excursions to various points of interest in the downtown area took place, followed by a walk to the top of the fortress of citadel hill, and then finally drinks at a neighbourhood pub.

walking and talking and not saying anything was presented as part of “Tracing the City, Interventions in Public Space”, a conference organized by Dalhousie Art Gallery and NSCAD University.”

See: http://tracingthecity.ca/colloquium/program
for more information

D’Arcy Wilson also writes about walking and talking and not saying anything in C Magazine Issue 121 “Walking”
https://cmagazine.com/2014_121.htm

Text and Image: http://erynfoster.ca/Works/walking-and-talking-and-not-saying-anything-2013

Walking Lab, performing lines & research-creation, ongoing

ABOUT
Performing Lines: Innovations in walking and sensory research methodologies is a partnership research-creation project to study and advance the theory and practice of walking methodologies, exploring and developing innovative interdisciplinary practices.
WalkingLab, which is a component of the larger funded research project, archives the networked activities generated through the grant, hosts a series of online residencies and blogs on the theme of walking, commissions a series of artists’ projects that interrogate what it means to move, and acts as a hub that connects researchers, educators, and the public through additional resources and pedagogical tools.

image and text: https://walkinglab.org/about/
Walking Lab and RiVAL; The bank, the mine, the colony, the crime: A walk for the radical imagination against Bay Street, 2018
“Toronto’s financial district, built on stolen Haudenosaunee and Mississauga lands, is home to many ghosts, notably those dispossessed by the global extractive industry headquartered on the city’s infamous Bay Street. The violence of (neo)colonialism haunts the corporate towers and cleansed streets of the financial district; it also haunts the pensions and savings of millions of Canadians who, knowingly or not, are invested in the industry via the neighbourhood’s preeminent financial institutions.

This glass, metal and concrete zone is a reactor of the imagination, where the abstract codes of global finance fuse with the settler colonial logics of racialized extraction and neoliberal capitalism. But what else might the imagination generate if we assembled ourselves otherwise? What resilient pasts, rebellious presents and radical futures flow beneath the surface, ready to erupt? How can we imagine and enact the complex solidarities we need to overturn the financialized global order of deadly inequalities and the fascistic spectres it unleashes?

WalkingLab and the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL) propose to assemble a temporary community of activists, artists, scholars and other peripatetic counter-speculators to investigate and challenge this power by walking together. On 5 October 2019 we will assemble in Toronto’s financial district to share our knowledge, ideas and forms of resistance through a series of presentations at various locations. We are calling for expressions of interest from those who might be willing to share their stories and talents as part of a collaborative walking tour.

ORGANIZING:
Writing of their project WalkingLab, Sarah E. Truman and Stephanie Springgay write: Conventional walking tours can reinforce dominant histories, memories, power relations, and normative or fixed understandings of place. This place-based knowledge serves various forms of governance, ideology, and maintains the status quo including the ongoing violence of settler colonization, and the erasure of racialized, gendered, and differently abled bodies. To counter dominant and normative walking tours that “take place” in specific locations, we developed a method we call a ‘queer walking tour’ to advocate for a critical consideration of place. This criticality, following Tuck and McKenzie, not only recognizes place as socially, culturally, politically, geosocially, and relationally constructed, it also considers “the place-based processes of colonization and settler colonization and works against their further erasure or neutralization through social science research.” The implication of queer walking tours is that they offer a form of place-based research that seeks to attend more responsibly and ethically to issues of place.

RiVAL: the ReImagining Value Action Lab is a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization located in Anishinaabe Aki (Thunder Bay, Canada) and active around the world. It is co-directed by activist-artists Cassie Thornton and Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice Max Haiven. RiVAL seeks to convoke the radical imagination using methods that include hosting conferences, symposia and summer camps, hosting workshops, film screenings and talks, supporting research, pedagogy and debate on key themes, publishing in print and online and organizing walking tours and other experimental public events. This event follows on a successful walking tour of London’s financial district organized by RiVAL’s Max Haiven and Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou of University College London in Spring of 2018.

Image and text: http://rival.lakeheadu.ca/torontotour/
Tim Knowles, Nightwalk – Valley of Rocks #1, 2008
ValleyofRocks1LR.jpg
2008
1220 x 1520mm
C-type print mounted on Aluminium and framed with non-reflective glass.
 
Edition of  6 + 2 AP

“Nightwalks are a series of illuminated walks that Tim Knowles created in the countryside during a new moon. Over the period of an hour, the artist walked away from the camera while carrying three wide-beam torches. His path, along a precarious rocky ridge in the darkness, was illuminated and captured using a long-exposure, large-format photograph. The image invokes Plato’s allegory of the cave, appearing like a pathway of ghostly travellers shining inside an electrified landscape.”

Text and image: http://timknowles.co.uk/Work/Nightwalks/ValleyofRocks/tabid/508/Default.aspx
Tim Knowles, Windwalk – Seven walks from Seven Dials, 2009
7 channel video projection, mixed media object and route plot as wall drawing.
2009

“Detail of drawing [above] showing how as the meandering route of the windwalker [guided solely by the wind] collides with  buildings, walls, railings, ventilation shafts, parked vehicles…. glimpses of the city’s structure are revealed.”

Text and images: http://timknowles.co.uk/Work/Windwalks/SevenDials/tabid/503/Default.aspx
Mammalian Diving Reflex, Nightwalks with Teenagers, On-going
Nightwalks with Teenagers is created with local youth who plan, design and lead public walks through the city at night, exploring the urban landscape. Nightwalks with Teenagers is focused on the power of walking together, inviting teens and adults to have a unique social experience in a shared place and time, where everyone can let loose, and silences offer moments for contemplation.

Text, image and video: https://mammalian.ca/projects/nightwalks-with-teenagers/
Carmen Papalia, Blind Field Shuttle walking tour, 2012
“Papalia’s work, which takes the form of participatory public projects, explores the topic of access as it relates to public space, the Art institution, and visual culture—as the artist’s own access is defined by a visual impairment. Papalia invites the participant to explore the possibilities for learning and knowing that become available through the non-visual senses, and to trust in the revelatory practice that is non-visual interpretation. Through exercises in trust and blind orienteering, participants discover new geographic contours from which to develop a sense of place. They begin to consider looking as one of the many ways to engage with and interpret their surroundings.

The core component of Papalia’s exhibition will be a multichannel sound installation documenting a non-visual site mapping workshop that Papalia conducted in Vancouver, British Columbia, and a number of images and videos documenting various instances of Papalia’s Blind Field Shuttle walking tour and his See for Yourself non-visual museum tour project—in which visitors close their eyes and embark on a one-on-one tour while art objects, architectural details and other museum visitors are described to them by a tour guide.”

Image and text: http://cueartfoundation.org/carmen-papalia
CARMEN PAPALIA, MOBILITY DEVICE, 2016
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c687G5ZdRxw
Richard Long, A line made by Walking, 1967
“Several of his works were based around walks that he has made, and as well as land based natural sculpture, he uses the mediums of photography, text and maps of the landscape he has walked over. Long has been taking these walks since the mid 1960s where he has walked in places such as the Sahara Desert, Australia, Iceland and near his home in Bristol, United Kingdom. His work has proven to be revolutionary as it has changed how society views sculpture. His work has influenced the boundaries of sculpture to not be limited to only “traditional” materials and to be able to use alternative materials in his work. Not only is he using alternative materials such as rock and earth, but he also changed what art is, as the actual art piece can be the process of creating the art itself. [6]

In his work, often cited as a response to the environments he walked in, the landscape would be deliberately changed in some way, as in A Line Made by Walking (1967), and sometimes sculptures were made in the landscape from rocks or similar found materials and then photographed. Other pieces consist of photographs or maps of unaltered landscapes accompanied by texts detailing the location and time of the walk it indicates.”

Text: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Long_%28artist%29

Image: http://www.richardlong.org/
Richard Long, WALKING A LINE IN PERU, 1972
Image: http://www.richardlong.org/
Janine Antoni and Paul Ramirez Jonas, Migration, 1999
Migration is a collaboration between Janine Antoni and Paul Ramirez Jonas. Playing the childhood game of follow-the-leader on a beach, the artists videotaped each other from behind as the follower records the leader. The videos simultaneously play out on two monitors turned on their side. The monitors’ proximity fuses the two perspectives into one walk. As the pursuer’s foot alters or erases the pursued’s footprint, it appears to step into the next monitor. 
Having traveled far from their home countries, the artists depict their movements as a series of steps where, at different times, one partner leads and the other follows.  The actions within Migration speak to the dynamic and continuous negotiations that happen within a relationship.”

Text: http://www.janineantoni.net/migration
Image: https://glasstire.com/2012/11/23/the-ten-list-walk-as-art/
Hamish Fulton, Walking on the Iberian Peninsula, 2018
Jean Marc Manson. Caminata Hamish Fulton en Rianyo- Fundacion Cerezalez
Another English artist placed in the Wordsworthian tradition is Hamish Fulton, a self-described “Walking Artist.” Fulton, instead of seeing himself leaving marks from his walks, sees his walks as leaving marks upon him.
Fulton states “A walk has a life of its own and does not need to be materialized into a work of art.  An artwork cannot re-present the experience of a walk…I attempt to ‘leave no trace.’”

Text: https://glasstire.com/2012/11/23/the-ten-list-walk-as-art/

Hamish Fulton (born 1946) is an English walking artist. Since 1972 he has only made works based on the experience of walks.[1] He translates his walks into a variety of media, including photography, illustrations, and wall texts. His work is contained in major museums collections, such as the Tate Britain and MoMA.[2] Since 1994 he has begun practicing group walks.[3] Fulton argues that ‘walking is an artform in its own right’ and argues for wider acknowledgement of walking art.[4]

Text: https://www.moma.org/artists/2033
Image: https://www.bombasgens.com/en/activities/processes-walking-with-hamish-fulton/

Artist website: http://www.hamish-fulton.com/
Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance, (1981)
Teching Hseih, One Year Performance 1981
“Tehching Hsieh is an endurance art champ whose projects take the form of dramatic lifestyle restrictions for the course of one year. In the work featured here, Hsieh lived for one year without entering any interior, be it a building or a vehicle.”

Images and text: https://glasstire.com/2012/11/23/the-ten-list-walk-as-art/
Narratives in Space + Time Society, Walking the Debris Field: Public Geographies of the Halifax Explosion, 2017
“Founded in 2012, Narratives in Space + Time Society (NiS+TS) is an interdisciplinary research group working on projects involving mobile media and walking. The focus has been on the contemporary manifestations of the Halifax Explosion. NiS+TS (other founding members include Brian Lilley and Mary Elizabeth Luka) has organized approximately 30 research walks and five larger public walks through the neighbourhoods of the Halifax explosion as part of their project “Walking the Debris Field: Public Geographies of the Halifax Explosion.” The society’s work culminates this year, the 100th anniversary of the explosion, with a number of projects, including exhibitions at the Dalhousie Art Gallery and the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, public art walking events, and the launch of a mobile app.

One morning in the summer, Lounder, Bean and I take a walk near the epicentre of the disaster, now blocked from view by the Irving Shipyard. We meet at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court (Family Division) on Devonshire Avenue, built immediately following the Explosion to house the Richmond School. The first Richmond School, nearby on Roome Street, had been destroyed in the blast. On that morning in 1917, two children died inside the Roome Street School, and 87 of their classmates died on the way; many were drawn to the waterfront to see the Mont-Blanc on fire at Pier 6. Nine-year-old Annie Perry Campbell, who lived on Kenny Street, was one of those children. Photographs of her are on display in the lobby of the courthouse.
From the courthouse, we walk through the former community of Richmond (it’s been reduced to a street name) to view the “house holes” at the corner of Albert and Roome Streets, depressions in the grass where houses once stood.  We then pass through Mulgrave Park, which overlooks the Irving Halifax Shipyard. From there, it’s on to Fort Needham Memorial Park, where the official memorial is, and back to the courthouse.

Mulgrave Park reveals a startling panorama of the Narrows where the Imo struck the Mont-Blanc, Pier 6 where the explosion occurred and the contemporary urban geography of Halifax that has been defined by this military disaster.

Both now and then, this area is a diverse part of Halifax, a working-class residential neighbourhood, with industry and military installations along the waterfront. In 1917 it was where the Acadia Sugar Refinery, the Richmond Printing Company, Hillis & Sons Foundry and Dominion Textiles cotton mill were located. Entire neighbourhoods were flattened, including the community of Africville further along the shores of Halifax Harbour. Dartmouth, across the harbour, also suffered; Oland’s brewery was in ruins, and the Mi’kmaq community at Turtle Grove was obliterated. Today, the Irving Shipyard dominates the neighbourhood of the Halifax explosion.

The stories of the dead and traumatized are never far from Lounder’s mind, as she returns again and again to the area. She did the first walk by herself in 2009, retracing Arthur Lismer’s journey that morning. On Dec. 6, 1917, Lismer, then principal of the Victoria School of Art and Design (now NSCAD University) was at home in Bedford, taking the morning off because he always worked Saturdays teaching children. The blast shook the wooden house on Cliff Street, shattering windows, and Lismer set off on foot for Halifax, walking along the train tracks. Along the way to the school (located at the present-day Five Fishermen Restaurant), he made sketches of the devastation. These were some of the first images capturing the explosion aftermath and published in international newspapers. The walk that Lounder made on December 6 also commemorated the Montreal massacre, an event that shares the date of the Halifax explosion.”

Image and text: https://nscad.ca/post-title-6/
Website:http://www.narrativesinspaceandtime.ca/
Display vitrine with samples of black rain from a garden on Roome Street.
NiS+TS photographs from research walks and ceremonies at Turtle Grove, 2014 to 2017.
Vito Acconci, Following Piece (1969)
Following Piece, New York City, 1969
“In 1969 Acconci moved from the practice of poetry into photographic works that used the medium not to document an ephemeral event but within a systematic exploration of his body’s “occupancy” of public space (the street, theater proscenium) through the execution of preconceived actions or activities. For Toe-Touch, the artist produced two photographs from the upper (hands over head) and lower (touching toes) extensions of his body; the results are less depictions of a scene than indices of a movement prescribed by the limits of the body in two directions. In Following Piece, executed daily over one month, Acconci followed one randomly chosen stranger through the streets of New York until he or she entered a private location-an activity where, as the artist described it, “I am almost not an ‘I’ anymore; I put myself in the service of this scheme.”

image: https://glasstire.com/2012/11/23/the-ten-list-walk-as-art/
text: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/190036953
Vito Acconci Following Piece 1969. Mixed media 30" x 40"
Image: https://glasstire.com/2012/11/23/the-ten-list-walk-as-art/
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The Alter Bahnhof Video Walk, 2012
“The Alter Bahnhof Video Walk was designed for the old train station in Kassel, Germany as part of dOCUMENTA (13). Participants are able to borrow an iPod and headphones from a check-out booth. They are then directed by Cardiff and Miller through the station. An alternate world opens up where reality and fiction meld in a disturbing and uncanny way that has been referred to as “physical cinema”. The participants watch things unfold on the small screen but feel the presence of those events deeply because of being situated in the exact location where the footage was shot. As they follow the moving images (and try to frame them as if they were the camera operator) a strange confusion of realities occurs. In this confusion, the past and present conflate and Cardiff and Miller guide us through a meditation on memory and reveal the poignant moments of being alive and present.”

Image and text: http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/index.html
Guy Debord, The Naked City (1957)
“In the case of Situationist International, the walk, and especially their drifting brand of it, the dérive, is a means of social-public-urban transformation.

“We are bored in the city, we really have to strain to still discover mysteries on the sidewalk.” – Ivan Chtcheglov, 1953

In addition to inspiring artists, architects and urban planners, the Situationist International’s take-back of public space is credited as catalyzing the The Occupy movement.

“We are not just inspired by what happened in the Arab Spring recently, we are students of the Situationist movement…One of the key guys was Guy Debord, who wrote The Society of the Spectacle. The idea is that if you have a very powerful meme … and the moment is ripe, then that is enough to ignite a revolution. This is the background that we come out of.” – Kalle Lasn, editor and co-founder of Adbusters, the group and magazine credited for Occupy Wall Street’s initial concept and publicity.”

Image and Text:https://glasstire.com/2012/11/23/the-ten-list-walk-as-art/
Gudrun Filipska and Carly Butler, The S Project, On-going
“S” is a collaborative project devised by artists Gudrun Filipska in the Fens UK and Carly Butler in British Columbia, Canada. Each artist is walking the aprox 2,000 miles towards Newfoundland without leaving their own home territories. The steps taken around their respective locations from repetetive and fugal walks are tracked by pedometers and recorded on a digital map where avatars will walk towards Newfoundland, a half way point between their respective homes. Filipska and Butler hope to reach their destination sometime at the begining of of 2019. The project is titled in reference to the first trans-atlantic wireless signal, sent from Cornwall to Newfoundland by Guglielmo Marconi, Italian physicist and radio pioneer in 1901. The message was simply the Morse-code signal for the letter “s”.
The project makes reference to parenthood and the pull of domestic domains and how they affect and change walking practices, and feeds into wider research into the ethical implications of the Fugal walk set against the grand narratives of journeying and pioneering. ‘S’ was germinated out of a shared ambivilance about the identities generated around ‘Motherhood’, identities which both artists simultaneously push against and work within the boundaries of – often in the sense of exploring time, space, navigation and travel. This walking project is a physical expression of these limitations, both aspirational in its distance and magnitude and yet humble in its inception – walking without leaving home.
Filipska and Butler are also mapping a number of different routes to find the ‘true’ half way point between their respective homes using combinations of celestial, nautical and gnomonic mapping techniques, these maps form part of the ‘S’ archive along with a catalogue of objects, artefacts and letters sent between them; a postal exchange which has included Butler sending Filipska seawater vial by vial until she has enough to fill a fishtank.

Text and Image: http://www.gudrunfilipska.com/butler-filipska

Artist Websites:
http://carlybutler.com/project/s-from-fordham-to-ucluelet/
http://www.gudrunfilipska.com/butler-filipska

GIS MAP: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=bc26ddce8dd54fcc8ba4e0678f05aeb9
Tino Seghal, This Progress, 2010
From left, Ashton Applewhite, Asad Raza, Zoe Schlanger and George Blecher, who were involved in various aspects of “This Progress” by Tino Sehgal at the Guggenheim Museum.

“A few Saturdays ago, a teenage visitor to the Guggenheim Museum, a girl in a black beret, slid open the door to the Aye Simon Reading Room and peered in at a group of people in animated conversation. “Is there something going on in here?” she said.
A woman wearing red lipstick and Converse sneakers glared at her for a moment and turned away. “It’s a staff room,” a tall man in a plaid shirt said brusquely.
The girl in the beret backed up and slid the door closed. If she had been looking for art — there was none to be seen on the walls of the rotunda at the time — she had found it. But it was rather emphatically taking a break.

The men and women in the room were part of “This Progress,” a work by the British-German artist Tino Sehgal that took over the rotunda for the last six weeks. In the piece, which closed Wednesday, visitors were ushered up the spiral ramp by a series of guides — first a child, then a teenager, then an adult and finally an older person — who asked them questions related to the idea of progress.

Over the course of several hours-long shifts a week for the six-week run of the show, each of these guides, or “interpreters” as Mr. Sehgal calls them, spent a few minutes walking and talking with one or more visitors at a time, then moved on to the next. The show was extremely popular, with final ticket sales of more than 100,000, and on busy weekends a guide might interact with as many as 70 people in a day. By the time the guides retired to one of the break rooms — the reading room had been set aside for the teenagers and adults — they were taking refuge from encounters with the public.

Still, they were clearly invested in the spirit of the project. Mr. Sehgal, 34, is known for keeping a tight rein on every aspect of his work; he refused to divulge information about “This Progress” in advance, for example, and prohibited the taking of pictures. And his interpreters, although willing to allow a reporter into their midst while the show was on, were likewise reluctant to say much about it until it was over.”

Image and Text: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/arts/design/13progress.html
Marlene Creates, Sleeping Places, Newfoundland 1982
“This is one of the most intimate projects about meeting the land that I have ever done, although some others have been done with the same sentiment. This series was completed during the two months of my journey around the island of Newfoundland. It shows my imprint on parts of the island’s landscape in the course of a season. The land has a memory.

When I slept on the barrens, that is to say in the middle of nowhere, it became a place. Of course Newfoundland is more than a green and yielding land. One time there was a gale of wind which kept me awake all night. In the morning the landowner was passing by and, seeing me photographing the ground where I had been, said, “You’re not going to see the wind.”

Text and Image: http://marlenecreates.ca/works/1982sleeping.html

Experimental 2/3 Assignment Ideas

Exercises by Artists: Abramovic, Fluxus, Learning to Love You More, Do it, Erwin Wurm, Jen de Los Reyes, Academie X, photos of you holding hands with a stranger

Intervention assignments – cross a boundary, go somewhere you shouldn’t

Colour Sculpture/Intervention:

Text As Art: Make a Sign for a Fictional event, Make a BIG BANNER in public, Site specific didactic intervention, Laurel Woodcock, Micah Lexier, Dave Dyment, Lawrence Weiner, Jenny Holzer, Bruce Nauman, Artists who use text

reading on Text as Art

Tattoos as Art

Spacious Quiet assignment (Acoustic ecology podcast from On Being, and artists who use silence –  or Walking as Art – reading/response/exercise

Videos -collage, montage and sound, Daniel Cockburne, Arthur Jaffa, Christian Marclay,

Videos – After Gillian Wearing

Walking as Art: Richard Long, Francis Alys, Tim Knowles,

Assignments by Artists

Some prompts, scores, assignments and exercises by artists:

Yoko Ono

George Macunias, 1931-78 Founding member of FLUXUS in 1960 – wanted to “promote living art, anti-art, promote NON-ART reality, to be grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes, and professionals”

“When asked to define exactly what Fluxus was, Maciunas would often respond by playing samples of dogs barking or geese honking, rooting the movement firmly in the absurd tradition that had grown up out of dadaism and surrealism. Fluxus activities ranged from public performances and street theatre, to lo-fi sculptures. Maciunas was anti-ownership and refused to allow any of the Fluxus works to be signed, making it difficult for dealers to value their worth. He was also instrumental in transforming Soho from a run-down, unfashionable district of New York city into an artists colony; when a warehouse shut, Maciunas moved in, using it as an art space for his collegues and friends. Those enticed by the movement included Joseph Beuys, who was drawn to the group because of its inclusive philosophy – echoing as it did, Beuys’s own beliefs that everyone was an artist. Yoko Ono was also a member and her bed-in with John Lennon is a classic example of Fluxus performance. “

Text from: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/jan/28/artist-george-maciunas

Marina Abramovic:

Learning to Love you More: Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July

Jen de Los Reyes

Diane Borsato and Amish Morrell: Outdoor School