“The Drawing Project began in Detroit in 1999 and became an interdisciplinary performance, mapping and cultural-exchange project collaboratively developed by Walk & Squawk (Hilary Ramsden and Erika Block), with U.S. and South Africa-based artists and communities during a series of residencies in Detroit and KwaZulu-Natal from 2003 through 2006. Inspired by desire lines people made across vacant lots in Detroit and across fields in South Africa we explored the paths we walk and how they are formed through culture, geography, language, economics and love. We looked at how changing our patterns of movement can alter our attitudes and perception, how taking a different path can alter our lives. We discovered how learning language alters the actual paths in our brains and how taking a car means something very different from taking a walk.” [credit]
Marina Abramović and her partner Ulay ended 12-years of intense personal love and shocking art collaboration, in 1988, with an art stunt never seen before. It was named “The Lovers: the Great Wall Walk” in which they decided to make a spiritual journey that would end their relationship: each of them walked half the length of the Great Wall of China, starting from the two opposite ends and meeting in the middle. There they would end it all.
Abramovic started walking westward while Ulay walking eastward, from the eastern end of the Great Wall of China, at Shan Hai Guan to the opposite end at Jaiyuguan. It would take three months for the couple to meet in the middle, where they embraced each other and went their separate ways. After covering 2500km each in 90 days, they would break up their relationship. They met at Er Lang Shan, in Shen Mu, Shaanxi province. Here, they embraced each other and said goodbye. From then on they would both go on with their life and work separately.
Abramović conceived this walk in a dream, and it provided what she thought was an appropriate, romantic ending to a relationship full of mysticism, energy, and attraction. She later described the process: “We needed a certain form of ending, after this huge distance walking towards each other. It is very human. It is in a way more dramatic, more like a film ending … Because in the end we both would be really alone, whatever we would do.”
2 channel video playing on two monitors side by side, 58:03 minute loop, Dimensions variable
Migration is a collaboration between Janine Antoni and Paul Ramirez Jonas. Playing the childhood game of Follow the Leader on a beach, the artists videotaped each other from behind as the follower records the leader. The videos simultaneously play out on two monitors turned on their side. The monitors’ proximity fuses the two perspectives into one walk. As the pursuer’s foot alters or erases the pursued’s footprint, it appears to step into the next monitor.
Having traveled far from their home countries, the artists depict their movements as a series of steps where, at different times, one partner leads and the other follows. The actions within Migration speak to the dynamic and continuous negotiations that happen within a relationship.