Category Archives: Meditation

Okwui Okpokwasili, Market Thrum (2016)


Okwui Okpokwasili led a 9-person walk that explored the making of an “embodied collective” in the charged landscape of the South Bronx. Facilitating a multi-sensory exchange with each other and the space, the group slowly walked through the Gold Coast Trading Company (an African market) and worked toward an expansive group practice of dynamic movement. No previous dance experience was required.

Click here to see photos from “Market Thrum.”


” “It a people market!” a woman shouted as nine of us slowly followed Okwui Okpokwasili through Gold Coast Trading Company in the south Bronx.

She was telling us this wasn’t our market. It is a place where Africans shop, gather, and commune. It wasn’t our place to create art. One of our participants — an African American woman — tried to explain our mission. The woman disappeared and left us to our ritual.

Walls of Bounty, Ajax, Goya, and West African spices hovered over us as we weaved our way through the market’s maze. Prior to entering the market, Okpokwasili explained women would cleanse the roads to the market, and we were symbolically going to do the same at Gold Coast Trading Company. At a walking meditation pace, we moved together as much as a unit as we possibly could contain.

But what if a space and its owners do not want the roads to their market cleansed? What if they have a special place in their neighborhood in which Americans do not visit? As participants, we became performers for people who didn’t want a performance. They were confused, concerned. But we never felt unsafe.

One man, in a green cap with a red star, stopped and stared. He grinned, seemingly getting it, turned around, and headed down another isle.

But to other customers and employees, the ritual seemed sinister. Maybe it was a ceremony to bring bad juju. That’s what the market’s owner suggested to Okpokwasili after the walk as we stood outside and waited for her to finish negotiating with him.

Shalom said someone told him, “This is an African market. Not an American market.”

Outsider. Infiltrator. Other. For a change, I was placed in the uncomfortable position of feeling unwelcome.

Okpokwasili grew up in this neighborhood, and she wanted to share something from her childhood. The smells, the energy, the malts, and chin chin awakened a childlike joy in her. All she wanted to do was share a special experience in a special place with a small special group of people.

In the end, Elastic City decided it best not to return to the market and disturb them again. The remainder of Okpokwasili’s walks trekked through the Harlem Market.”


Hamish Fulton, Slowalk (In Support of Ai Weiwei) (2011)


30 April 2011, 12.00 – 14.00
Turbine Hall, Tate Modern

Since the late 1960s British artist Hamish Fulton has made sculptures, actions, images and text pieces in response to his direct physical engagement with the landscape. In 1973 he resolved to ‘only make art resulting from the experience of individual walks’, a strategy that he maintains today.

Fulton will present Slowalk (In support of Ai Weiwei) at Tate Modern as a collective action created specifically in response to the iconic architecture of the Turbine Hall and in the context of the recent disappearance of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose work Sunflower Seeds is currently on display in the east end of the Turbine Hall as the eleventh project in the series of Unilever Commissions. Fulton’s Slowalk (In support of Ai Weiwei) is conceived as a meditative experience to which he invites ordinary people to come together and walk very slowly, in a formation created by the artist over a period of two hours. This is a form of silent activism, where the participants are both art and viewer on a communal journey. Both Fulton and Ai Weiwei explore the role of political and social activism as a force for change in art and as such this action forms a public gesture of solidarity towards Ai Weiwei as a gesture towards freedom of expression.

Example of a slow walk:

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)

John Schuerman “Walk Around 3rd Precinct” (2020)

John Schuerman is a Minneapolis-based artist and curator who took a walk around the Minneapolis 3rd police precinct in mid-July 2020. This was just a few months after the murder of George Floyd. Schuerman posted the following description and images from his walk on Facebook, forming a multi-faceted archive of the experience.

“A few days ago, I set out to walk the perimeter of the 3rd precinct in Minneapolis. After 20+ miles and 24 hrs I arrived back home, maybe wiser. It was a walking meditation on our community’s pain and roiling. I trace for you here a small part of my motional and emotional trip. The text below corresponds to the images in order as they happened.”

a map drawing

The Cauldron, arsonist ashes and ink on paper. The 3rd precinct contains the George Floyd murder site, ground zero for the mass-property destruction (Lake and Minnehaha), the two largest homeless encampments (Powderhorn, Minnehaha) and the soaring crime rates, free food stations, protests, street art, and more.

map of 3rd police precinct

Map of my walk. (which encircled all my other recent walks)


path next to highway

The Edgelands -Miles and miles of walls, highways and edgeland culture.


drawings from ash

My Darkness, arsonist ashes on paper. Anxieties about water -due to COVID all public sources of water are closed, so I had to filter water from lakes and streams. Harshness of my surroundings, unnerving parts of the walk (places where I felt viewed with suspicion). Recalling my concerns and snippets from other walks. The vigilantes: “We don’t need luck, we got guns.” The homeless men: “Did so and so ever make it back?” “NO. he OD’d at the Center”. The Police Officer: “I wish I could help you but I can’t”, rape and gun violence in the encampments… I ask myself, ‘Why am I out here?’ it’s a dark feeling.


Camp, next to Ford Parkway. Former homeless campsite, they probably moved to the Minnehaha encampment I walked through. Careful. Sweaty, Anxious. Fireworks rain through the trees as I turn in. I hear gunshots as I wake at 4:30 am. Pack up, glad to be through the night.


Beauty. The great river bluffs.

car with writing on it

The city again. What do we do to one another? Why?

selfie on the street

Familiar streets. I ease up. Franklin and 2nd ave. I walk on, pass another memorial. Two weeks ago the police found a man’s body in the street here, multiple gunshot wounds. Booze bottles, candles and trash mark the site.

street memorial

Almost home. 38th and Chicago

map drawing

Hope, arsonist ashes on paper. Can we still the violent, smoldering container, and reform to a kinder more equitable society? I hope but don’t feel hopeful. I hope our civic leaders will think hard and find wisdom, and if they do not, we vote them out no matter their politics. I felt like I had to do this walk. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was real. I took some risks to reckon with things. I’m left with many questions. How much safer was I on this walk because I’m male? Because I’m white? Will dis-empowering and demonizing the police lead to more violence in the long run as it has in the short run? Can police reform happen with a corrupt union in place? (a problem not exclusive to the police). Is America capable of working for its collective? or are we bound to a culture of self-interest? Am I?

Hamish Fulton, Melting Glacier (2005)

text over a photo of mountains

Melting Glacier, 2005, Archival inkjet print, 17 3/4 × 22 1/4 in. CREDIT:

Like Richard Long, Hamish Fulton is a self-characterized “walking artist” who generates photographs, sketches, and text pieces based on the experience of each walk. During visits to South Dakota and Montana in the 1960s, Fulton decided that art should be about life, not about producing objects. Keenly interested in Native American cultures and Buddhist meditation practices, Fulton has walked in more than 25 countries in the past 30 years, including trips to the tops of Mount Everest and Denali. “If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art,” Fulton explains. “The physical involvement of walking creates a receptiveness to the landscape. I walk on the land to be woven into nature. A road walk can transform the everyday world and give a heightened sense of human history.”

[Credit above]

Credit below: Tate Britain’s Hamish Fulton: walking Journey

Since the early 1970s Hamish Fulton (born 1946) has been labelled as a sculptor, photographer, Conceptual artist and Land artist. Fulton, however, characterises himself as a ‘walking artist’.

Fulton first came to prominence in the late 1960s as one of a number of artists – including Richard Long and Gilbert & George – who were exploring new forms of sculpture and landscape art. A central characteristic of their practice was a direct physical engagement with landscape. Fulton’s time as a student at St. Martin’s College of Art in London (1966-68) and his journeys in South Dakota and Montana in 1969, encouraged him to think that art could be ‘how you view life’, and not tied necessarily to the production of objects. He began to make short walks, and then to make photographic works about the experience of walking.

At this time, and subsequently, his practice was influenced by an unusually broad set of interests including the subject of the environment and the culture of American Indians. In 1973, having walked 1,022 miles in 47 days from Duncansby Head (near John O’Groats) to Lands End, Fulton decided to ‘only make art resulting from the experience of individual walks.’ Since then the act of walking has remained central to Fulton’s practice. He has stated ‘If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art’ and has summed up this way of thinking in the simple statement of intent: ‘no walk, no work’. Although only Fulton experiences the walk itself, the texts and photographs he presents in exhibitions and books allow us to engage with his experience.