Category Archives: Dog Walking

Lee Deigaard, Vixen. Vector (2013-17)

 

““Vixen. Vector” is a photographic series and installation that follows a former street dog essentially exploring Cartesian geometry on the streets of New Orleans (as she defies Cartesian dualism). She conducts a visual conversation with me using her body (and secondarily, the lines of the leash) to underline and express fleeting alignments and discoveries within urban (but also natural) spaces. I take photographs, shot from the hip as it were, cued by her pauses and interactions. How she moves, and how I move relative to her reveal angles of discovery and an essential and consciously rendered geometry. ” (from email exchange, June 2011)

“Lee Deigaard, Vixen. Vector
An arrangement of photographs chronicling sympathetic alignments and other canine geometries.

Former street dog defies Cartesian dualism, illuminates Cartesian geometry on the streets of New Orleans.

In my work, exploring levers of empathy (particularly between species), capturing the incidental signifiers (gesture, transient expression) relies on a convergence of reflex and impulse, situation and timing. On daily walks, tiger dog moves through the big city, carrying nothing, wearing nothing; her body is her vehicle and her expression. Photographs from our outings reveal fleeting and yet deliberate synchronicities and alignments– of limb and leash, shadow and sidewalk crack– created by a dog finding her place and translating her role within it. Through companionate mirroring of animate and inanimate forms, she delineates subtle harmonies. Her everyday geometry, its ephemerality and its searching sequences, are both improvisations and statements. To see the city through her is to discover a cursive- of routes and scent trails, of scribbled street runes. It’s an experience of deep reading.

Rescued from the streets, she retains aspects of a wild creature, like a coyote or a vixen, and the decisions she makes about where to go– the ways she exercises her autonomy, posits her theories of whereabouts and motives, and hunts the evidence– carry added poignancy.

Lee Deigaard lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana and in rural Georgia. Her studio practice engages wild animals and collaborates with animals who are friends and family. Her work explores animal protagonists and the emotional spaces and physical landscapes where humans and animals co-habitate.” (credit)

Ptere Liversidge, Festival Proposals, Proposal No. 1 (Dog Walking) (2006)

“Every element in an exhibition of work by Peter Liversidge begins at the artist’s kitchen table with Liversidge sitting alone writing proposals on an old manual typewriter. These hand-typed pages, present an array of possible and impossible ideas for performances and artworks in almost every conceivable medium. In a sense the first realisation of every work is in Liversidge’s head, then on the page, then in the mind of the reader, and finally (perhaps) as a physical object or happening. In every case, the first ‘artwork’ from any series of proposals is the bookwork that presents the collected ideas.

As Liversidge has said: “… the process is also about the notion of creativity: it’s important that some of the proposals are actually realised, but no more so than the others that remain only as text on a piece of A4 paper. In a sense they are all possible and the bookwork that collates the proposals allows the reader to curate their own show, and because of its size and scale the bookwork allows an individual to interact with each of the proposals on their own terms, one to one”.” [credit]

Keith Arnatt, Walking the Dog (1976-9)

man with dog

Walking the Dog 1976-9 Keith Arnatt 1930-2008 Presented by Tate Patrons 2010 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T13051

Walking the Dog is a large series of black and white photographs of individuals standing outside with their dogs. While the locations depicted in the photographs vary from street pavements and country lanes to parks and gardens, all the images in this series share consistent formal characteristics: in each case the single owner stands full-length in the centre of the image facing the camera with the dog at their feet, and no other human or animal can be seen within the tightly framed square shot.

The photographs were taken by the British conceptual artist Keith Arnatt (1930-2008) around his home in Tintern, Monmouthshire, between 1976 and 1979. During this three-year period Arnatt took over two hundred such pictures while walking in the area. Getting an individual to pose with their pet and to look directly at the camera proved to be a challenge, and so the artist devised a plan that involved calling out the name of the dog just as he was about to hit the release button. However, Arnatt recalled in 1993 that when he called out the name of the pet the owner would often turn away from the camera and check to see if their dog was behaving ‘correctly’. In many instances the owner would laugh, or the dog would look at the owner and become disinterested.

While the photographs on their own might not be so revealing, the consistency and repetition across the series – of poses, expressions and behavioural traits – testifies to the self-conscious ways in which different people choose to represent themselves in front of a camera. As Arnatt explained in a discussion of this body of work: ‘what interested me about photographs was the oddity of photographs that caught expression – things that people were doing while they were being photographed.’ (‘Oral History of British Photography: Arnatt, Keith (3 of 5)’, accessed 14 March 2014). By producing an artwork that mimicked in its scale and apparent neutrality the appearance of a sociological study, the ‘oddity’ of the photographs – exaggerated by the similar ways in which they are cropped and by the criteria by which they were selected – could be revealed, and thus serve to undermine the notion that photographs are objective documents of reality.

Seriality and repetition are key characteristics of minimal and conceptual art of the early 1970s and Walking the Dog can be seen as an example of a conceptual artwork that takes as its subject a social landscape particular to Britain. The sociological and national aspects of the series bear comparison to the early twentieth-century German photographer August Sander’s compendium of portraits of people from all walks of German life (see, for example, The Notary 1924, Tate AL00147), while the way in which Arnatt’s work registers a skepticism towards traditional forms of documentary and photojournalist practice aligns it with the work of Diane Arbus (1923–1971) and Martin Parr (born 1952), whose artistic projects critically address the framing of subjectivity by the medium of photography. Arnatt’s work often contains elements of subtle humour (see, for example, Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of his Former Self 1969–72, Tate T07647) and with this in mind Walking the Dog may be seen to invite reflection on the familiar but farcical theory that dog owners resemble their pets.

The group of Walking the Dog works in the Tate collection (Tate T13047T13086) were selected by the artist to be exhibited as a part of his solo exhibition at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London in 1979. Earlier, a smaller group of twenty-eight prints from the series was exhibited at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London in 1977. A larger selection of fifty images from the series was published in book form in 1979 with an introductory text by the jazz singer and writer George Melly (1926–2007).

Further reading
George Melly, Walking the Dog, photographs by Keith Arnatt, London 1979.
Keith Arnatt, Rubbish and Recollections, exhibition catalogue, Photographers’ Gallery, London 1989, pp.4–5.
‘Oral History of British Photography: Arnatt, Keith (3 of 5)’, 14 April 1993, audio recording, http://sounds.bl.uk/Arts-literature-and-performance/Art-photography-and-architecture/021M-C0459X0036XX-0300V0, accessed 14 March 2014.

— Sylvie Simonds, March 2014. Revised by Andrew Wilson, February and July 2019″ [credit]

Rebecca Gallo, One Walk Sculptures (2016)

“A series of found object assemblages, each comprising objects collected during a single walk departing from and returning to home. Exhibited in Written In Time curated by Catherine Benz at Delmar Gallery, Ashfield, January-February 2016.” [credit]

“On walking: in mid-2014, I adopted a dog and I started walking. We would walk for at least an hour a day, and she was quick to sniff out scraps of food: half-eaten kebabs, chicken bones, that sort of thing. So, I would scan the ground, trying to spot hazards before she did, and quickly I started to notice other things. Bright coils of wire from electrical repairs; stray nuts and washers; the translucent green of expired whipper snipper cords. Handwritten notes,
packaging moulds and small weights from the rims of car tyres nestled into the crooks of gutters.

Collecting and using found objects was already part of my artistic practice, but the act of walking changed and focused this. A walk came to be told through the haul of items I could hold in my hand or fit in my pockets. Human movement, traced and told through human discards.”

Christine Sun Kim (LISTEN) (2016)

[CREDIT] – “A Silent Soundwalk, Noisy with Abstract Compositions” via HyperAllergic

person with ipad outside

Christine Sun Kim during her sound walk (LISTEN) on October 29 (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic unless otherwise noted)

“What is the sound of arms moving? Or of rats gossiping? What about the sound of slight anticipation, or the sound of memories?

These were among the many sounds that artist Christine Sun Kim invited us to consider during “(LISTEN),” a recent soundwalk she led in the Lower East Side organized by Avant.org. We were a group of about a dozen, following her as she visited a handful of sites around the neighborhood to pause, share a personal memory of hers, and offer us an accompanying composition.

But these compositions were technically silent. Serving as audioguides of sorts, they were void of mp3 players, headsets, or other audio devices. Instead, Kim presented a series of textual prompts on an iPad, like flash cards, that described sounds ranging from those that may play immediately in our minds (the sound of a bicycle spinning) to those that are utterly abstract (the sound of an urge to punch someone). Born deaf and originally focused on painting, she has been exploring sound as a medium for nearly a decade and the various ways we may experience and understand it.

(LISTEN)” readapts Max Neuhaus’s own soundwalk, “LISTEN,” when, 50 years ago, the musician took a small group of his friends on a sonic journey through the Lower East Side. For his iteration, Neuhaus stamped the word LISTEN on his companions’ hands and encouraged them to absorb the familiar noises of the city. As he recalls:

After a while I began to do these works as ‘Lecture Demonstrations’; the rubber stamp was the lecture and the walk the demonstration. I would ask the audience at a concert or lecture to collect outside the hall, stamp their hands and lead them through their everyday environment. Saying nothing, I would simply concentrate on listening, and start walking. At first, they would be a little embarrassed, of course, but the focus was generally contagious. The group would proceed silently, and by the time we returned to the hall many had found a new way to listen for themselves.

person with ipad outdoors

Christine Sun Kim during her sound walk (LISTEN)

“(LISTEN)” made me hyper-vigilant of surrounding sounds, but with its designated stops and paired stories,  it also brought a more focused approach to Neuhaus’s exercise. At each site, Kim animatedly relayed in American Sign Language the associated memories that her interpreter Vernon Leon spoke aloud. They ranged from her serendipitous encounter with someone who ended up writing her a recommendation for graduate school to a rage-filled bike accident outside the New Museum caused by a negligent cab driver. Outside Audio Visual Arts gallery (currently on hiatus), she recalled experiencing John Andrew’s 2009 exhibition The Now with Before and AfterShe could not hear its audio component, but she pressed her hands against the room’s yellow walls and through the strong vibrations, experienced the throbbing waves.

The iPad slides that followed such recollections probed our own understanding of sound: descriptions moved from the familiar to the obscure, increasingly prodding individual memories, imaginations, and sensibilities. Short but suggestive, the text pushed sound beyond an experience dependent on hearing; it may be seen or felt, as Kim made incredibly clear as she invited us so associate it with the material and texture (“the sound of pavement floor”); with moments (“the sound of condensation”); with emotional states (“the sound of uncertainty”); and with action and restraint (“the sound of not trying to smell”).

a drawing of words

Christine Sun Kim, “a map of a sound as a space” (2016) (image courtesy Avant)

Parentheses often appear in Kim’s visual works, which deal largely with text. The coupled curves appeared in “(LISTEN),” too, bookending each phrase she showed. When anchored in the space between the two lines, words and their sonic implications are visually isolated and highlighted yet are also reduced in both presence and volume. The physical pockets of the neighborhood Kim carved out on her soundwalk worked similarly, becoming temporary spaces for each of us to consider the subjectivity of experiencing sound, which extends beyond the use of just a single sense.

We ended “(LISTEN)” at a quiet creperie next to a boisterous bar, where Kim crossed out the word stamped on each of our hands. As I walked away, my ears picked up the rough grating of a trash can hobbling across park gravel; the metallic tinkling of a trotting dog’s leash nudging its collar.

(LISTEN) took place on October 29 and October 30 around the Lower East Side.

Francis Alÿs, “The Modern Procession” (2002)

[CREDIT]

The Modern Procession, organized by artist Francis Alÿs (b.1959, Antwerp, Belgium) and presented by the Public Art Fund in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, is modeled after a traditional ritual procession. Beginning in front of MoMA at 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue at 9am, the procession parades through midtown Manhattan, crosses the Queensboro Bridge into Long Island City, marches along Queens Boulevard, and ends at the door of MoMA QNS (33rd Street at Queens Boulevard). Both festive and ceremonial, the procession makes the museum’s historic transition both visible and public, linking the two boroughs in a spectacular and memorable way.

A 12-member Peruvian brass band, Banda de Santa Cecilia, sets the pace for the procession. More than 150 uniformed participants carry reproductions of MoMA’s most famous works—Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, and Alberto Giacometti’s Standing Woman—on handheld wooden carriages. The presence of these reproductions pays homage to the history of MoMA while celebrating the cultural and economic potential of bringing art into the streets. Artist Kiki Smith serves as a representative of contemporary art. Carried by fellow participants, Smith leads the spectacular procession, which also includes banners, dogs, and scattered rose petals.

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller “Hillclimbing” (1999)

This is a video work to be watched on a monitor while wearing headphones. Participants hear the artists walking toward the top of a snow-covered hill. We see the ground, the sky, and the couple’s dog. We hear the sounds and occasional talking.

Further reading:

  • “Walk Ways” exhibition catalog. Essay by Stuart Horodner. Foreword by Judith Richards.

Francis Alÿs “The Collector” (2001)

For an indeterminate period of time, the magnetized metal collector (it looks roughly like a geometric dog on wheels) takes a daily walk through the streets and gradually builds up a coat mad of any metallic residue lying in its path. This process goes on until the collector is completely covered by its trophies.

Further reading:

  • “Walk Ways” exhibition catalog. Essay by Stuart Horodner. Foreword by Judith Richards.