The Walking Encyclopaedia's Walking Artists of the Day - Eric Steen, Espen Tversland, Fintan Dawson, Fiona Williams

In a continuing series throughout the duration of The Walking Encyclopaedia, we'll be highlighting, daily, the works of four practitioners who employ the walk within their practice. Each of the highlighted artists and artworks were submitted for exhibition to The Walking Encyclopaedia. In each case alongside their artist statement, a link to the artist's website is provided for further exploration.

The Walking Encyclopaedia is a co-production between AirSpace Gallery and the Walking Artists Network.

#37 - Eric Steen - Beers Made By Walking

Beers Made By Walking is a program that invites brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes and urban walks. Each walk is different, each beer is a portrait of that landscape. The program happens in multiple cities each year.

Denver Beers Made By Walking


More beers made by walking here -  http://tinyurl.com/bmbwmenu002

The first Beers Made By Walking took place in Colorado Springs in 2011, it was a summer-long series involving seven hikes, eight homebrewers, and was sponsored by the UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art. Each hike was public and along the way we identified edible and medicinal plants. Afterwards, each homebrewer created a recipe for a beer that would use ingredients identified on the trail and the beers were produced commercially at local breweries. There were two special tappings at a local pub. The events were so successful and fun that organizer, Eric Steen, who also writes for Focus on the Beer, decided to expand the idea and bring it to multiple cities.

The hope in the initial program was to simply get people outside and to have various people groups come together and find intersecting commonalities in interdisciplinary topics as seemingly diverse as botany, environmentalism, art, geography, and beer making. The initial inspiration for BMBW came during a week long canoe trip down the Yukon River in Canada. There Eric was introduced to the Norwegian term ‘friluftsliv,’ which is translated as ‘Free Air Living.’ The term describes a way of living in which people make a habit of being outdoors on a regular basis. There are Friluftsliv conferences that host ‘walking lectures’ where attendees hike for a few days on end, stopping every now and again for a lecture and food.

The program's concept developed further during a trip to Scotland, when Eric built a pop-up pub that served homebrewed beer to the public. While there, Eric visited Williams Bros. Brewing in Alloa and was inspired by their line-up of historic Scottish beers that used ingredients from the landscape - like heather flower, gale, Scottish pine, and seaweed. Another inspiration came from British artists, like Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, who use walking as a means of understanding our relationship to the world. Beers Made By Walking, in some respects, is a mashing together of those pieces. 

It has been a year since the first summer series and there are now four different iterations of Beers Made By Walking. Two are happening in Colorado, one involving homebrewers again and the other involves commercial breweries. There will also be versions in Oregon and Washington and we hope to grow the program each year. We are now looking forward to urban walks and the social landscape in addition to the physical geography of a place. We've also begun asking some breweries to donate portions of their proceeds to local environmental non-profits. We would like to use this program to inspire others to look at our local landscapes in fresh and community-minded ways. 


#38 - Espen Tversland - A Man Walks Into

09.06 min sound hdvideo

Short synopsis:

A man alone
walks into nature,
let his mind wander
and guides him away from the known

a sketch map is created
by the memory of the walk
and the transformation of man

Espen Tversland is an artist interested in the relationship between man and nature. He graduated from the National Art Academy in Oslo 2002 and have exhibited in group shows and solo exhibits in Norway and abroad. He has also work in projects with architects and dance performance. Currently he is working with a project called "My Beast", a video database that will be the fundamentals for several unique video installations and video exhibits.


#39 - Fintan Dawson

Fintan Dawson is a visual artist whose practice mainly involves landscape photography and film making, and as such the act of walking through landscapes forms a very large part of his work. Fintan's practice mainly involves searching formerly industrial landscapes for traces of their previous use in a way of looking for relics of the past. He is also interested in the cultural legacy of traditions which originated in once industrial communities, an example of which is the Durham Miners' Gala in North East England, in which trade union banners and bands parade through Durham city centre in one of the largest gatherings of its kind.


#40 - Fiona Williams

Fiona Williams is a visual artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Fiona works in the space between photography and painting, utilising also video, drawing, writing, installation and publication — by working across various modalities, she aims to work through relations of the image to lived experience.. 

Photograph Videos and Photographs (Polaroid Project 2008-2009) 

Kings ARI
5 - 27 June 2009


Upon its initial publication in the English Language, the title of Marcel Proust’s literary masterpiece A La Recherche du Temps Purdu had been translated as Remembrance of Things Past. Photographs, viewed in terms of their literal functional purpose, serve as documents to remind us of things in the past - events, people, places. As a medium that represents the past, photography carries all of the requisite associations with memory, nostalgia and romanticism that the interpretation Remembrance of Things Past also connotes.

Polaroid photography can be viewed as quite a nostalgic medium. Its particular softness of image, the immediacy of gratification it affords, and the familiar sound of the camera spitting out the film are all reminiscences from a childhood of the 80s - arguably the heyday of Polaroid. Fiona Williams’ Photograph Videos and Photographs displays a definite fondness for the medium. Polaroid photography is a notoriously difficult medium to control (Roland Barthes once described Polaroid as “Fun, but disappointing, except when a great photographer is involved”)1, however Williams utilises this inherently fickle nature to dissociate her images from dialogues concerned with ‘good’ photography. The artist maintains that the subject of her photographs is relatively irrelevant, selecting landscapes during long walks based entirely upon instinct and their evasiveness of subject. However, in the broader context of Williams’ art practice (which includes painting and drawing as well as photography and video) visual motifs are repeated over and over. Landscape is one such element; another is the horse, which has an ethereal presence in Photograph Videos and Photographs. The pale horse has a strong symbolism grounded in mythology, and has associations with both eternity and death. The pale horse has also found a place in the popular contemporary imagination, functioning on a symbolic level in Hollywood productions such as Blade Runner and Twin Peaks. Perhaps the pale horse has been adopted by Hollywood as an avatar for an as-yet unacknowledged trauma, and can thus be seen to function within Fiona Williams’ practice in a similar way.

Photograph Videos and Photographs gives the impression of landscape only; shrouded in the familiar dreamlike haze characteristic of Polaroid, images are chosen for the ‘right’ balance of presence and absence. Barthes

1 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, London 2000; trans. of La Chaimbre Claire: Note sur la Photographie, Paris 1980, p. 9

describes the ‘fantasmatic’ nature of landscape photography as awakening desire; it carries him forward to a ‘utopian time’, and sends him back into himself (into memory).2 It is this fantasmatic nature that is arguably present within the evasive landscapes of Fiona Williams’ Photograph Videos and Photographs. Rather than speaking directly to conscious memory, Williams teases out subtle identifications that are perhaps unnameable. As Barthes says, “The incapacity to name is a good symptom of disturbance.”3 This subtle relationship to the uncanny, echoed by the doubling of image and object, disrupts and complicates the potential for nostalgic identification with the work.

In recent revisions of the translation of A La Recherche du Temps Purdu, Proust’s title has been given its literal translation, In Search of Lost Time. This significant revision implies an emphatic shift from memory and nostalgia to an intellectual pursuit; the ‘Search’. Deleuze argues that memory is only one means of investigation in the Proustian Search, as the Search is oriented to the future and not the past.4 Fiona Williams’ Photograph Videos and Photographs (Polaroid Project 2008-2009) also refutes interpretation founded solely on an investigation of memory.

Fiona Williams’ Photograph Videos documents Polaroid photographs developing. A photograph is taken along a walk (time wasted), placed on the ground, and filmed whilst it develops. Emphasis is placed upon the ‘coming into being’ of the photographs, for filming ceases as soon as the image has developed sufficiently for its content to have become apparent. The video gives us a ‘real-time’ experience of photography. The Polaroid image develops on screen at an almost imperceptible rate, and is given a temporal context by the video’s soundtrack - birds in the background, the artist’s weight shifting as she crouches behind the camera. We are privy to the artist’s process - a large proportion of which is time spent waiting.

Photograph Videos is installed in the gallery alongside the corresponding Polaroid photographs, setting up a reflexive indexical relationship between the works. We are presented with the birth of the photographic image and its inevitable decline; time is collapsed, and notions of mortality and the passing of time are emphasised. Barthes claimed that photography has an inherently traumatic structure by enabling us to view the past by ‘deferred

2 ibid, p. 40
3 ibid,p.51
4 Gilles Deleuze, Proust and Signs, Continuum, London 2000; trans. of Proust et Signes, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris 1964, p. 4

action’5. In Williams’ Photograph Videos, this action is not only deferred but reproduced, repeated, and looped. In this collapse of time photography’s traumatic structure is revealed, made visible by the marked disparity between the filmed photographs and their corporeal photographic referents. Here, the photographic moment exists as past and present simultaneously. Lines of time intersect and ‘multiply their combinations’6 as we view Photograph Videos and Photographs (Polaroid Project 2008-2009). According to Deleuze, the kinds of time regained in the work of art are ‘time passed’ and ‘time wasted’;7 Photograph Videos and Photographs (Polaroid Project 2008-2009) both documents lost time and embodies its recovery.

Viewing Photograph Videos and Photographs (Polaroid Project 2008- 2009) is a contemplative experience. Time passes slowly watching the images develop in the Photograph Videos. This is ok though; Deleuze reminds us that time is necessary for the interpretation of signs, and anything that forces us to think is important to the Search.8

We are all Egyptologists.9

Rebecca B. Adams June 2009

Rebecca B. Adams is an artist and writer living and working in Melbourne, and is a current Kings ARI studio artist.

5 Margaret Iversen, What is a Photograph? Art History, Vol. 17 No. 3, September 1994, p. 455
6 Gilles Deleuze, Proust and Signs, Continuum, London 2000; trans. of Proust et Signes, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris 1964, p. 56 7 ibid, p. 40 8 ibid, p. 61 9 ibid, p. 4

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