Susan Stockwell “Taking a Line for a Walk” (2002-03)

Taking a Line for a Walk from Susan Stockwell on Vimeo.

“12 minute film, 2002

A film documenting a performance called Taking a Line For a Walk by artist Susan Stockwell. It shows a line being drawn around Stockwell in South London. Susan, with her Line Drawing machine, followed the boundary of old Stockwell and left a continuous line with temporary white paint. It lasted for 2 weeks, was 2.7 miles long and took 3 hours to draw. The idea was to make a work where a little known area of London was defined and mapped physically for all to see. The map was taken into 3 dimensions on a life size scale and turned into a walking drawing, a trace of an idea and a performance.

The performance was part of Stockwell Festival and came out of a project called ‘Taking a Line for a Walk: Mapping Stockwell’ which Susan did with pupils from Stockwell Park School.
Shot by Polly Nash, edited in collaboration with Susan Stockwell and produced by Spectacle Productions.

Images from the performance, Taking a Line for a Walk have been published in the book, The Art of Walking: a field guide by David Evans Blackdog, 2013.

‘Taking a Line for Walk’ (2003) was a performance where the artist drew a white line around the area of Stockwell in South London defining and mapping the district. The line was made with white poster paint and a Line Drawing Machine, it was 1.7 miles in length and lasted for 2 weeks. The idea was to physically define a little known area of London while also making a 3-dimensional walking drawing and a trace of an idea. It also references the artist’s name alluding to her identity and boundary setting.

The performance was part of Stockwell Festival and came out of a project called ‘Taking a Line for a Walk: Mapping Stockwell’, which Susan ran with students from Stockwell Park School.
A 12-minute film was made that documents the performance, also called ‘Taking a Line for a Walk’.

‘Line Drawing’ is a 2-minute film that examines the line as it’s being drawn in ‘Taking a Line For a Walk’. The film concentrates on the essence of the line, the variety of marks, speed, character, rhythm and pavement surfaces. It creates a mesmeric, meditative and beautiful reflection of the drawings process and everyday pavements, seldom considered or seen. It’s sometimes difficult to know if the artist is taking the line for a walk or the line is leading the artist; perhaps a metaphor for artistic process and those magical moments when the art work takes on a life of its own.

Film shot by Polly Nash, edited by Polly Nash and Susan Stockwell, produced by Spectacle Productions. (credit)