The Walking Encyclopaedia's Walking Artists of the Day - Idit Nathan, Jayne Seddon, Jemma Gunning and Jess Allen

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.

#45 - Idit Nathan - Seven Walks in a Holy City, 2011 - 2013

Websites: www.iditnathan.org.uk 

The project comprised of 7 playful walks around the highly contested city of Jerusalem, where I grew up. in order to avoid familiar routes I used cards and dice to indicate directions and the starting points were the seven gates of the old city. Different themes for each of the walks, were determined by cards picked up at the onset of each walk. 

Title: 7 Walks in 28 Minutes Year: 2013

Running time: 28minutes About the film:

The film documents seven playful walks in the city of Jerusalem. Starting points are established with cards. Routes get disrupted by dice pointing at different directions. Each walk has a thematic focus (e.g: lines, colours, portraits). The film invites the audience to join the artist as she moves around ‘most contested piece of real estate in the world’ searching for ‘still life’ and ‘untitled’ images.

The film is produced collaboratively by Film maker James Murray-White and Artist Idit Elia Nathan. Both have lived in Jerusalem and bring their different perspectives and practices to create this film.

Biographical notes on collaborators:

Idit grew up in Jerusalem, where she returns to make her visual artworks. Her work is often playful and aims to create a space in which viewers are challenged to respond to the unsettling contemporary dilemmas derived from our identity as both actors of free will and actors in an historical context.

James spent several years in Jerusalem, building on his experience as an anthropologist and establishing his film practice. Since returning to the UK he has made several short films exploring the tensions between individuals and societies.
Seven Walks - The Postcards Series, 2013
Series of 49 Postcards, 105mm x 148mm each

Images collected thematically during each of the walks are edited into a series of postcards. When exhibited as a sculptural installation - the postcards are displayed on a postcard display carousel and viewers are invited to pick individual postcards or a series of seven.


#46 - Jayne Seddon - Visual Illiteracy

Visual Illiteracy

Jayne Seddon is a Manchester based visual artist whose work connects art, ecology and social sculpture through the forms of walking, performance and drawing. Jayne is constantly looking for new ways to translate experiential knowledge.  This is sought through collaboration with other artists, and the people and places she works with. She recently completed MA Art As Environment at Manchester School of Art.

‘Visual Illiteracy’ was performed in collaboration with artist Jackie Haynes at The Art Party Conference in Scarborough, November 2013. Mark Hudson reviewed the conference for the Telegraph, and reported,

‘A pair of young women, packed into a single T-shirt with a slogan I couldn’t quite decipher, stumbled blindfolded among an array of depictions of Gove in an extraordinary range of styles and media. ‘

This piece drew upon institutional critique, by walking, blindfolded by oversized ties which were embedded with the message “Thanks Gove…” as a comment upon the letter written to Michael Gove by the artist Bob and Roberta Smith, in which he said…

‘…Art should be at the centre of a National Curriculum based on creative thinking. Pity the obedient child in a system of education obsessed with vocational skills. He or she caves in. The child who becomes inhibited is inducted into the mediocre majority of the visually illiterate, of which you, Michael Gove, (in your ill-fitted shirt and unmatched tie) are a part. ‘ 

My practice connects evolutionary biology with ecology, embodiment, walking and activism. The people and places that I work with lead the content of each project. The art forms include walks, drawings, prints, photographs, films, performances and installations.


#47 - Jemma Gunning

My practice is based around my encounters of the urban environment. My fascination of the beauty that erosion, decay and weathering bring to the surfaces of the landscape has become a starting point for my work. I am physically attracted to the effect that natural elements, human interference and time have on architectural structures within the landscape. I appreciate nothing more than coming across a segment of the land that has accidentally, naturally or on purpose been eroded, chipped, flaked, ripped or faded over a period. I attempt to recreate these surfaces with varied processes, freezing my discoveries and making people more perceptually aware of their most intimate everyday surroundings. By doing this I am exploring the multi-layered histories of cities and the urban environment, focusing on the trace and residue of what or who could have been there before me. I have set out to conquer the language of abstraction, freeing myself from the confines of the formal landscape and finding new meanings and relationships between surface and mark.


#48 - Jess Allen - various

Jess Allen is an aerial dancer and walking artist with a yurt, a horse and a dog. Originally a biologist with a PhD from Aberystwyth University, she retrained in contemporary dance and is now doing a second PhD in ‘tracktivism’ – walking and moving in rural landscapes as an eco-activist arts practice – with a President’s Doctoral Scholarship from the University of Manchester. She uses walking to facilitate talking and listening; creating unexpected encounters in unusual locations and connecting people and places Her curiosity lies in how the aesthetics of a walk and intention of the walker can open a space of embodied dialogue around politics and sustainability.

Tilting @ Windmills

Tilting at Windmills was a performance research project which sought to explore rural communities’ response to landscape change. Through recordings and interviews collected on a 100-mile walk between the wind farms that lie along the spine of mid-Wales, the resulting installation film intends to offer an embodied perspective - and space to reflect - on changing landscapes and lifestyle in a changing climate.

All In A Day's Walk

All in a Day’s Walk is a month-long tracktivist walking performance in which I live entirely within the distance I am able to walk away from home in a day, sustaining myself only on the food that is grown, harvested, processed and obtainable within this distance. I travel only on foot, accepting no lifts and using no public transport. I accept no hospitality or food from hosts or visitors that does not meet these criteria.

The score has been performed twice, once inwinter (6th December 2012 – 6th January 2013) and once in summer (6th July – 6th August 2013). In the winter I slowed down and lost weight, observing the score religiously. In the summer I sped up and lost faith, subverting the score flagrantly.

Either way, the intention was to draw attention to loss – particularly of local food infrastructure – and to counter the disconnection that may lie at the root of wider environmental concerns. It was also an exploration of personal horizons, endurance, edges and empathy: measuring out by foot the limits of my existence-subsistence-persistence.

Tracktivism is about talking and listening, and my walks are intended to facilitate conversational encounters: both with the people I meet randomly on my route or pre-arranged at a specific destination… walkers, farmers, growers, millers, bakers, apiarists, artisan cider-producers, foresters, road-workers, yurt-makers, butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers. We talk about theweather. We talk about talking. We talk about woodand wassailing. But mostly we talk about f o o d , where it comes from, how to grow it, how to find it, how to cook it and why it matters…

It’s slow food meets slow activism meets slow performance. So, please take some time to meander through these pages if you wish, and leave some slow comments…

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