Category Archives: Pilgrimage

Maya Lin, “Vietnam Veterans Memorial” (1982)


Vietnam memorial ariel shot

Maya Lin, Vietnam Memorial

“Lin’s design called for the names of nearly 58,000 American servicemen, listed in chronological order of their loss, to be etched in a V-shaped wall of polished black granite sunken into the ground. … When Lin first visited the proposed location for the memorial, she wrote, “I imagined taking a knife and cutting into the earth, opening it up, an initial violence and pain that in time would heal.” Her memorial proved to be a pilgrimage site for those who served in the war and those who had loved ones who fought in Vietnam. It became a sacred place of healing and reverence as she intended.”

Robert Smithson, “Spiral Jetty” (1970)


spiral rock pile

Robert Smithson’s earthwork Spiral Jetty (1970) is located at Rozel Point peninsula on the northeastern shore of Great Salt Lake. Using over six thousand tons of black basalt rocks and earth from the site, Smithson formed a coil 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide that winds counterclockwise off the shore into the water.

“Robert Smithson’s earthwork Spiral Jetty (1970) is located at Rozel Point peninsula on the northeastern shore of Great Salt Lake. Using over six thousand tons of black basalt rocks and earth from the site, Smithson formed a coil 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide that winds counterclockwise off the shore into the water.”

Simon Faithfull, “0º00 Navigation Part I: A Journey Across England” (2009)


Super8 transferred to SD video (silent), 51min

The film 0º00 Navigation Part I: A Journey Across England shows an obsessive and deranged journey exactly along the Greenwich Meridian.

Always seen from behind, a figure first swims out of the seawater where the meridian hits the south-coast of Britain at Peacehaven in Sussex. The solitary person emerges out of the water carrying a hand held GPS device and using this implement he proceeds to walk directly north along the 0º00’00” line of longitude. Any obstacle encountered is negotiated – fences climbed, properties crossed, buildings entered via nearest windows, streams waded, hedges crawled through. The figure gradually makes his way up through southeast Britain, through London, the Midlands and ultimately re-enters the sea at Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. The figure then slowly swims away into the North Sea heading ever further north.

In 0º00 Navigation the hypothetical, geographic construct that is the zero line of longitude is treated as if it were a real phenomenon – a path mapped out to follow. The Greenwich meridian bisects southern England because it was here that it was once fabricated out of treaties, maps and the mechanics of naval power.

Melanie Manchot, “Walk (Square)” (2011)

photos of children marching

Walk (Square), 2011, Single Screen, HD, 20′40″

Walk (Square) forms part of an ongoing series of projects investigating collective gestures or situations enacted in public such as walking, dancing or celebrating. The work extends a practice based on an analysis of the construction of individual and collective identities and their performative representation through photography and moving image. Walking en masse—whether it be in processions, pilgrimages, in carnival or protest marches—forms the starting point for this video work made with 1000 Hamburg kids. Drawn into the centre of the city from all directions, with art as the ‘Pied Piper’, the work refers to current socio-political situations of protest as well as to recent research across different disciplines into the meanings of groups and crowds. The piece questions whether the act of walking may constitute a ‘form of speech’. On the square in front of Hamburg’s contemporary art museum a crowd of kids performs a simple walking choreography, based on Bruce Nauman’s video Walking in an Exaggerated Manner around the Perimeter of a Square, 1967– 1968, creating a shimmering form of movement that briefly produces a moment of collectivity and visual coherence before breaking apart.


“At first glance, Melanie Manchot’s work shows us what might be a demonstration, a procession or a parade in the centre of Hamburg. The differences between the three, though seldom observed, are crucial. T h e historian David Cannadine has observed that when the French “put their social structures on public display they have parades (which are intrinsically egalitarian), whereas the British have processions (which are innately hierarchical)”. Demonstrations can be either hierarchical or not but, unlike the other two categories, are impossible to fully impose order on.

In ‘Walk (Square)’, a thousand children flock into Hamburg’s central square – with “art as the ‘pied piper”‘, as she puts it. Once inside the square, the children undertake what Manchot calls a “simple walking choreography” based on the Bruce Nauman work ‘Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square’, seen elsewhere in this show. Manchot’s recreation of the earlier work in new form asks us to imagine how occupying public space has changed its meaning between ‘then’ and ‘now’. At the time of Nauman’s work, the purpose of protest was not in doubt, even if its efficacy was not universally accepted. Walking is, here, the means of occupying public space by traversing it. As Manchot puts it, “the act of walking constitutes a ‘form of speech'”. To walk – together – is in certain contexts a political act in the purest sense of the term. It is to ensure that one cannot be simply ‘walked over’ by those in positions of authority. To walk is to create “a moment of collectivity”, in the artist’s words.”

Victoria Evans “It Takes a Year to Walk Around the Sun” (2016-17)


This floor projected video installation offers a disorientating, closely framed, POV experience of walking and provokes a mimetic response in the viewer. The hypnotic, single-camera, rhythmic montage, combined with overlapping layers of diegetic sound, exposes slippages in how we experience time when walking. It Takes a Year to Walk Around the Sun considers the incongruities between notions of scientific, measured, clock time and the non-linear experience of embodied, lived time.

Eleanor Antin “100 Boots” (1971-73)

These photographs of staged boots were printed as 51 postcards. Viewers can read these works knowing they were influenced by the Vietnam War and ideas of protesting, parading, trespassing, and communing with nature. The images start and California and end as the boots march into the Museum of Modern Art.

François Morelli “Transatlantic Walk” (1985)

man with sculptural backpack

François Morelli

This walk commemorated the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. The artist carried a hollow fiberglass sculpture in the shape of a charred human torso on his back as he traveled from Berlin to Cologne to Amsterdam to Paris to New York to Philadelphi.

He archived the walk with photos, drawings, and writing. He engaged in many conversations.

He ritualistically filled the sculpture with water or air at various times symbolizing keeping his companion alive.

Further reading:

  • “Walk Ways” exhibition catalog. Essay by Stuart Horodner. Foreword by Judith Richards. (also credit for the above information)