The Walking Encyclopaedia's Walking Artists of the Day - Don Gill, Drifting Space, and Lizzie Philps

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.

#33 - Don Gill - Erratic Space

Following architectural theorist Francesco Careri's ideas of the relationship of landscape to the development of architecture and particularly his concept of "Erratic Terrain", a Neolithic pre-nomadic space that is unmapped and empty, a space that is available for roaming and hunter/gatherer activity, I have developed a project titled Erratic Space. As a series of works based in a variety of locations, Erratic Space treats both Urban and non-urban space as Erratic. That is, unmapped and available for roaming. My preference is to site new iterations of the work in locations that I am unfamiliar with, particularly in a gallery or residency site that has a central location from which the work can circulate around. To use a potential exhibition as an example, I establish the parameters of the display by setting up a work-station with video monitors, computers with printers and office supplies: tape, pushpins scissors, paper cutters, blank scrapbooks etc. I also establish context with some artifacts and work from previous iterations of Erratic Space. From this point I set out on daily walks using a GPS unit as a drawing implement to track the shapes of these walks. As there is no predetermined outcome for these walks the act of moving through the area becomes an act of drawing through finding either natural routes or blockades to passage. These walks end at the gallery space where I print the GPS drawings and photographs, download images and video into slideshows, read and clip local and national newspapers, and similar activities. I construct wall maps of the experiences incorporating the materials that I gather on my excursions.

Don Gill is based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He is originally from Cranbrook B.C. and spent his formative years traveling back and forth between Cranbrook and Calgary. He is now an itinerant and peripatetic artist who encompasses photography, video, film, writing, performance, curation, artist books and installation in his practice. He teaches in the Department of Art at the University of Lethbridge and is a adjunct professor at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.

Website - dongillwalking.blogspot.ca


#34 - Drifting Space - Space Walk

About Driftingspace

Driftingspace is a creative partnership exploring the city through journeying and embodiment. Projects involve walking or driving through the built environment to reinterpret the spaces and places frequently encountered and overlooked on a daily basis. We map city space through a narrative inquiry or an experiential or kinesthetic approach. We also run and curate Textually Active, an ad-hoc nomadic event that incorporates art, performance, installation, and writing.

Individual bios

Sally Hall
: My practice incorporates painting, drawing, sound and, most recently writing and performed texts. It engages ideas of space/place and their subsequent interactions. Space is a key concern: The work often referencing site, location, urban/suburban contexts, and through visual forms that are more pertinent to spatial and architectural ideas and formats. I particularly like to play with the dissonance between Fine Art and Architectural practices and their visual languages, exploiting their surreal collisions. In other work I may focus on the constraints of the gallery wall, the incongruities and ‘place/less’ or ‘context/less/ness’ of the work by experimenting with concepts of display and the ‘frame’.

Jason Hirons: I am a Performance Writer, artist and lecturer interested
in landscape, cultural geography and the experiences of everyday life. My research is concerned with exploring the city as a performed and performative space, a palimpsest that records and rewrites the stories
of those who have come and gone through the cityscape. Ideas of journey, narrative and site are central to my practice.

website - www.driftingspace.wordpress.com 

...we are traveling through space at sixty seconds per minute, twenty four hours a day...


#35 - Lizzie Philps 


Last summer, I walked 50 miles from mine to my mothers house, carrying my baby on my back. This may be one of the oldest reasons to walk somewhere. Like the performance of pilgrimage, the walk refers to rites of passage, acknowledging all those who have trodden this new and daunting path before, and questioning the pseudo-religious sanctity of motherhood, too. During my walk it struck me how rarely we notice quiet footpaths as we whizz by on our way to work, which seemed an apt metaphor for the job of motherhood.

I told (and recorded) stories of my life from my mother’s point of view as I walked, as well as documenting the journey in mediated (via GPS and on twitter) and organic ways (collecting flowers, leaves and the light of the day itself on photographic paper). I am currently transcribing the recordings, which I plan to present both as installation and a second, studio-based performance.

“Walking then is a spatial acting out, a kind of narrative, and the paths and places direct our choreography. This regular moving from one point to another is a kind of mapping, a kind of narrative understanding. Paths link familiar places and bring the possibility for repeated actions. Different paths enact different stories of action. Walking is like a story, a series of events, for which the land acts as a mnemonic. And we are aware that our ancestors have also walked these paths no more so than in Australia where features in the landscape – often invisible to the uninitiated eye – mark the sites of ancestral acts. To travel across such a landscape is to remember it into being, it is sedimented with human significances. And the pathways are songlines, long narrative excursions which remember places in song. To travel the land is to sing the world into being again…”


Fourteen paces

I became a walking artist out of necessity. As a new mother, I couldn’t walk without taking my daughter with me, and I wasn’t ready to have to choose between spending time with her or on my practice. “Maternity Leaves” documents a series of short performative walks within a mile radius of my home, exploring the time and space of motherhood. Drifting around my own locality,  my newly myopic attention to the patterns, demographics, and waymarkers I discovered paralleled that which is given to newborns. The slow changing of the seasons similarly reminded me that I couldn’t will her to smile, not have colic, sleep all night, eat solids, walk, etc. any faster than nature intended.
Eleven paces
Like Rousseau, these (not quite) solitary walks offered me precious time for reverie, but also to reflect on my choice to become a mother. In addition to the themes of ambivalence and abandonment, these images document a performer interrogating her own performance in this new role, as I dared myself to take a few more steps away from my subject/audience/co-performer than was emotionally comfortable. This exploration of distance was subtly affected by the real and imagined reactions of passers by, and so the titles, detailing the number of steps taken, are a plaintiff acknowledgement of this responsibility. The difference between ‘ahh, look – a mother taking a photo of her baby’ and ‘what the hell is she doing?’ is only a few paces.”  Lizzie Philps (2014)
Twenty two paces (and a gate)
These photos will form part of an alternative guidebook to the Frenchay and Begbrook area of Bristol, available locally and online.
Other performance walks include:
The Pilgrimage of the Prodigal Daughter – possibly one of the oldest reasons to walk somewhere. A 50 mile walk to the artist’s mothers’ house, carrying her baby on her back.(2013)
De Bored Triangle – It is mundane, but somebody’s got to do it. A dispersed flashmob of buggy-pushers stand up to the Situationist leader. (online and ongoing)
A Long Day’s Journey Into Light - Why is walking in the countryside frequently portrayed as wholesome and edifying, while city wandering has seedier and edgier connotations? A performance walk using solar technology to interrogate Romantic philosophies surrounding light and darkness. (ongoing)
Fifteen paces (traffic dependent)
 Full Beam is the name for participatory performance projects by Lizzie Philps, including theatre, installations, site-based and walking events. The work is playful and irreverent, and explores the sensory, the landscape, and the ways audiences can create and negotiate meaning. Full Beam makes performance to address the limitations of language, has a fascination with identity politics, and a desire to illuminate and document the performative in daily life.

Twenty one paces
Thirty Three Paces

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