A brief look through Roget’s Thesaurus offers us a sense that a walk can be many things. It could be a stroll, a saunter, a hike or a ramble. For those with time to spare it might be a promenade or a perambulation or if the mood has taken a turn for the worse, the walk could turn into a traipse or a trudge. The political walker might consider a march or a parade, whilst the pilgrimage or the crusade would be more pertinent for the spiritual.
Walking as a cultural activity stretches from the 18th century philosophy of Rousseau, who famously “thought with his legs”, encompassing the Parisian flaneurs and the psychogeography which sprang from the Situationists and which still endures today. The conceptual walking of Richard Long and Hamish Fulton brought the artistry of the act into the Gallery and the consciousness of the art theorists to the point that today; the act of walking and the walking artist are at the forefront of contemporary art.
AirSpace Gallery has noticed the recent surge in popularity of walking as a cultural activity, and the validation afforded it by the Art World. In collaboration with The Walking Artists Network, The Walking Encyclopaedia seeks to present an overview, or a survey, of walking as a contemporary cultural activity.
From an open call which asked for
• video documentation of walks, and films about walks,
• sound documentation of walks,
• photographs and photographic documentation of walks,
• artworks made on walks, about walks and as walks,
• publications and zines about walks and walking practices,
The Walking Encyclopaedia has become a physical and online repository for walking practices and presents over 150 cultural practitioners and their works, crossing disciplines as varied as art & design, architecture, archaeology, anthropology, cultural geography, history, spatial design, urban design and planning.
***** Keep up-to-date with exhibition developments at the Walking Encyclopaedia Blog
Programme of Events
The opening night will feature To ArT – a WaLk – A filmic walk by Michael Mayhew, with live music by flautist Gavin Osborn. Michael Mayhew has created a shortened edit of a 52 minute film To ArT – a WaLk based on the habitual walk he takes from home to art, his studio in Manchester. Working with Flautist Gavin Osborn this film becomes a Hyper – Graphic Score that inspires new approaches to how the flute could sound. This premiere continues the collaboration between Mayhew & Osborn who are presently touring Mechanical Air – In Search of Awe.
1st February - 16th March, 2014
The Long Road Project
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Responding to the Tate's ‘Artist's Rooms’ Touring exhibition of the work of esteemed artist Richard Long, The Long Road Project presents work made in response to ‘walking’ by 15 Staffordshire University students from 4 disciplines (Fine Art, Photography, Animation and Music Technology) during an intensive three day retreat at Ilam in the Peak District. The Lead Artist for the project was Tim Knowles.
The Long Road Project is a partnership between Staffordshire University, The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and AirSpace Gallery
For more details click here
The Artist Soup Kitchen - Venturing Out During The War on Interiority with Phil Smith
For the 3rd in the new series of The Artist Soup Kitchens, AirSpace Gallery’s artist development/critical engagement events, we have invited acclaimed walking artist Phil Smith to muse upon and talk about walking as a cultural practice. Over a bowl of energy-filled Green Walkers’ Soup accompanied by a bespoke handmade Rye Bread,we will discuss the broad themes of walking, movement and journey, and more specifically, Phil will talk about his use of walking, spontaneous exploration, handbooks and performance in sites of containment and ambiguity.
For More details click here
Community Night Walk
Walk Talk Share Discover
A ‘Reclaim the Streets’ Style walk, which seeks to occupy the streets around and within Stoke-on-Trent’s central city park, Hanley Park, and walk in safety at a time of day and in an environment normally considered too dangerous for women to walk.
The walk is led by women but is for anyone who wants to explore the neighbourhood in the dark, together. The walk, which will start at Hanley Park Bandstand and end at AirSpace Gallery, will have stopping points along the way, where there will be opportunities to hear about some of the fantastic projects and organisations working locally, and some of the activities and groups that you can get involved with.
The Community Night Walk is a collaboration between AirSpace Gallery and the Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University.
For more details and to book your place on the walk click here
Participatory Group Walk - Refrains For Uncertainly Sacred Spaces by Phil Smith
AirSpace Gallery has commissioned walking artist, Phil Smith to design a bespoke group walk. "Refrains For Uncertainly Sacred Spaces" will expand on Phil's interests of walking and performance and will explore an idea of pseudo-sacred space.
“...pseudo-sacred spaces; these might be the ruins, fabrications, fadings and hoaxes of sacred space; they might include spaces that once were regarded as sacred but have been traduced or abandoned, like a chapel that is now used as offices, or a fake sacred space like a stone circle erected as ornamentation in a children’s play area...”
For more details on this walk click here