“Walking forward, looking back is a practice-based project utilizing a journey through the landscape. Artist Carol Maurer walks from her ancestral home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland through Delaware to Chester County PA, collecting stories, photos, memories and objects along the route. Rediscovering histories – both true and false. The journey began as a way to experientially confront her responsibility as a descendant of enslavers and slowly weaves into a meditation on the time, tempos, conversations and understandings walking can make space for.” (credit)
Bani Abidi, (1971-) in Karachi (PK), lives and works in Karachi and Delhi (IN)
“26 Inkjet Prints, 29.7 x 42.0cm
A design typology of security barriers found on the streets of Karachi (2009 – 2019). These barriers, which started making an entry into Karachi’s streets soon after the attack on the Twin Towers in NY in September 2001, raise questions around the notion of safety and economic segregation, state control and political strategies of demarcation. Out of context, against a white background, they resemble minimalist abstractions.” [credit]
“Security Barriers A-L, 2008
The artist Bani Abidi is a nomad of two cultures. Born and brought up in Karachi, Pakistan, she lives and works today in Delhi, India. These biographical details run through her humorous works that depict the cultural and political differences and similarities between the two countries and their conflict-ridden border. In her work Security Barriers A-L, Abidi employs temporary architectural elements for an analysis of political manifestations of state violence, the maintenance of state power, and national strategies of demarcation.
In twelve prints, the artist catalogs the various models of security barriers in her hometown of Karachi, which she first photographed on-site, before going on to digitally rework them. She found the various constructions in front of embassies, consulates, at airports and intersections. Arranged in rows of three, the brightly colored, clear, and sharply contoured vector drawings against a white background are like objects featuring in a glossy catalog. One almost feels tempted to order one of these beautiful objects for the front yard, even though their design idiom is unambiguously that of a barrier. Only the attached titles establish the link to their original context and the related strategies of isolation and demarcation: type H stands out among the drawings with its all too vigorous expression of political superiority, while the flower-bedecked barrier in front of the British Deputy High Commission of the former colony almost seems smarmy. (KB) [credit]”
“Bani Abidi’s early engagement with video, beginning at the Art Institute, led to the incorporation of performance and photography into her work. These mediums have provided Abidi with potent, sometimes subversive means to address problems of nationalism—specifically those surrounding the Indian-Pakistani conflict and the violent legacy of the 1947 partition dividing the two countries—and their uneven representation in the mass media. She is particularly interested in how these issues affect everyday life and individual experience.” (credit)
“…It is the life of ordinary citizens that interests Abidi—not the heroic tale, but the poetry of the quotidian struggle for freedom of those who die laughing, or defiantly laugh in the face of death….
I want to make a strong point about the fact that my work is not about Pakistan. It’s about power, security, and militarised architecture; and it’s about the vulnerability of regular people.
We ought to be aware and assert the fact that such an identity-based reading of culture only happens when a work by a brown person is shown in a white space. A romance set in Paris is never perceived as being ‘about’ France, is it? What you see in my films is what I know and assume as my normative: the sounds, smells, landscape, and temperature . . . these are the details that help tell a story.
I am certainly not out to teach anyone anything about my country. My practice draws from a large spectrum of present and past experiences, and I hope to be able to speak to anyone who is interested in those ideas.
Of course, there are many layers in my work and its reading very much depends on the context in which it is placed….” (credit)
“Judy Marsh’s paintings use the visual language of the structures that shape our movement in the urban environment, particularly of hazard signs and barriers. In these sculptural paintings strips of black and white diagonal stripes protrude forwards with an arresting vibrancy. Left open at the side, the works invite the viewer to peer between the panels – filled with carefully executed scaffolding, these sections speak to the in-between spaces that emerge when two barriers are erected.” (credit)
” Walk to Freedom came about in late 2017 after I discovered the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee was planning remembrance ceremonies in April 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. I recognized the importance of this moment and I thought about how could I contribute to this great event.
I asked myself what could I do to honor the legacy of Dr. King’s ideas? What commitment of myself could I offer the Civil Rights movement today? How could I pay homage to our ancestors who sacrificed so much for our freedom?
That’s when the idea of Walk to Freedom was born. I realized if I was going to offer a symbolic gesture to Dr. King, move the Civil Rights movement ahead by one yard, give thanks to the original Freedom Seekers, then I was going to walk to demonstrate my commitment.” (credit)
Johnston has completed several walks and that timeline is listed here.
“Performed on the 16th of July at the Venice Biennale in 1976 with Ulay. In Relation in Space (1976) they ran into each other repeatedly for an hour – mixing male and female energy into the third component called “that self.”” (credit)
“VALIE EXPORT/Peter Weibel, Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit (From the Portfolio of Doggedness), (1968)
Documentation of the action 5 black-and-white photographs, vintage prints, 40.3 x 50.3 cm / 50 x 40.3 cm each, framed between 2 glass plates, flush 40.3 x 50.3 cm / 50 x 40.3 cm each, fixed with black textile adhesive tape Photographer: Josef Tandl
Five black and white photographs document the action From the Portfolio of Doggedness, which VALIE EXPORT and Peter Weibel carried out in Vienna in February 1968. EXPORT took her fellow artist for a walk—he crawled behind her on all fours on a leash—along the Kärntner Strasse in Vienna, one of the central streets and main shopping areas. This “sociological and behavioral case study” (EXPORT) belongs to the actionistic tradition. “Here the convention of humanizing animals in cartoons is turned around and transferred into reality: Man is animalized—the critique of society as a state of nature” (Weibel). Turning around a piece of normal social behavior makes transparent a particular symbolic order—that of gender specifics—and subjects it to criticism. Here, an active woman leads a passive man on a leash. Crawling, a form of animal behavior, is not, however, a reference to liberation from moral and political discipline or a “better” system. Rather, it points out the necessity of restructuring the social order that has been handed down to us. Photography has a documentary function here, it acts as an “ethno-graphical” study and shows particular communication processes in the observable reactions of the onlookers. The structures of the gazes disclose social behavior and contrast with the action. (Claudia Slanar)” (credit)
Maraa Collective (2008-)
This walk took place in Bangalore, India in October of 2014, and used the format of a tourism walk to critically examine the processing of waste and the caste system. The walking route followed the same route as the street sweepers and waste sorters. In India, the Dalits caste has been traditionally responsible for clearing excrement.
This work may remind some of Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ work in which she shook the hand of every sanitation worker in New York City, shining a light on their labor and demonstrating respect for their work.
“August 1-September 27, 2017: The Walk
In the New Field, Public Studio walked the entirety of the 900km Bruce Trail while actively exploring the question: What does decolonization look like?
Along the trail, Public Studio invited by artists, activists, scientists, writers, curators, philosophers, and youth groups to join them and activate the footpath as a way of sharing knowledge across a diverse public. Indigenous writer and “geomythologist” Lenore Keeshig lead Public Studio across the unceded territory of the Chippewas of the Nawash; artist and theatre director Ange Loft lead a tour that included theatre warm-up exercises and a discussion of land acknowledgments; Geologist and director of the Bruce Trail Conservancy Beth Gilhespy chronicled land formations, activist and artist Syrus Marcus Ware led thirty five kids on a botanical drawing walk; multidisciplinary artist Diane Borsato brought art students, a western botanist and a traditional Indigenous medicine woman into dialogue; and writer and critic Amish Morell’s graduate students walked, read poetry and reimagined the land at a reconstructed Iroquoian village archaeological site.
September 28 -30, 2017
The Creative Time Summit: Of Homelands and Revolutions
Stage Design & Closing Ceremony
On September 30, 2017 a public choir demanded the end to extraction and colonial destruction, to war and displacement driven by economic greed. On this day we demanded the earth be re-centered together with people and that the Canadian government include the Rights of Nature into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Public Studio together with Hiba Abdallah created the set for Creative Time Summit and with collaborators Ange Loft and Terri-Lynne Williams-Davidson staged the performance of the Rights of Nature, a document based on Haida ideology demanding that nature be inscribed in Canada’s constitution.
“Public Studio is the collective art practice of filmmaker Elle Flanders and architect Tamira Sawatzky. Public Studio creates large-scale public art works, lens-based works, films, and immersive installations. Grounded in the personal, social, and political implications of landscape, Public Studio’s multidisciplinary practice engages themes of political dissent, war and militarization, and ecology and urbanization, through the activation of site. Public Studio often works in collaboration with other artists.” (credit)
Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds, (Cheyenne/Arapaho, 1954-)
This work was a temporary memorial for Native Americans who died in Italy as part of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show in the late nineteenth century, and was installed at the Venice Biennale in 2007. It consisted of a series of 16 outdoor signs to remember and honor their loss, 8 outdoor signs that serve as commentary, several signs in the water-taxis encouraging repatriation of the Native people’s bodies from Europe to the U.S., as well as a large billboard at the Venice airport that stated ‘welcome to the spectacle, welcome to the show’ as a faux welcoming sign, which was visible as people walked through the airport check point. These Lakota warriors were formerly imprisoned in the U.S. and were given the choice to remain in prison, or go perform in Europe, which was not much of a choice.
“In 1998 I saw an advert for an open commission for Artangel. For years I had had this idea to re-enact this confrontation that I had witnessed as a young person on TV, of striking miners being chased up a hill and pursued through a village. It has since become an iconic image of the 1984 strike – having the quality of a war scene rather than a labour dispute. I received the commission, which I couldn’t believe, because I actually didn’t think it was possible to do this. After two years’ research, the re-enactment finally happened, with about eight-hundred historical re-enactors and two-hundred former miners who had been part of the original conflict. Basically, I was asking the re-enactors to participate in the staging of a battle that occurred within living memory, alongside veterans of the campaign. I’ve always described it as digging up a corpse and giving it a proper post-mortem, or as a thousand-person crime re-enactment.” (credit)