“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)
“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.”
Schwitters collected garbage and found objects from the streets and used them to compose Dadaist collages.
epoxy paints, wooden box, 8.9×6.2in / 22.7×15.8cm
collected materials from street in Busan, South Korea, which was disappearing due to development
“The Hamilton Perambulatory Unit is a group of artists, writers and educators, co-founded in 2014 by Donna Akrey, Taien Ng-Chan and Sarah E. Truman. The HPU orchestrates participatory events to engage with historical and current ideas around perambulation, and to explore walking in conjunction with artistic practices and research-creation. Our methodologies have included stratigraphic cartography, locative media experimentation, sensory synesthesia poetry-writing, and found material sculpture-making. HPU has given walks in Montreal, Toronto, Windsor, Buffalo NY, Sydney Australia, London England, Galway Ireland, Memphis TN, Tokyo Japan, the online sphere of Zoom, and our home base of Hamilton Ontario.“
“I have always loved walking by the sea and was increasingly disturbed by the amount of plastic I was finding washed up on the beach. But in 2006, the United Nations Environment Programme reported that humankind’s exploitation of the oceans was ‘rapidly passing the point of no return’ and I was really shocked to discover that they estimated that on average there were around 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square mile of ocean, leading to the death of over one million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals every year due to entanglement with or swallowing of litter.
We now know that over 12 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year, travelling on ocean currents to every part of the globe. These plastics endure in the marine environment indefinitely: items from the birth of plastics are washing up on our shores, virtually unscathed. Scientists estimate that plastic can take 1000 years or more to degrade in seawater and even then will continue to pollute our environment with thousands of microscopic fibres: samples taken from a Northumbrian beach were found to have over 10,000 fibres in just one litre of sand… But disposal of plastics in our oceans isn’t just harming wildlife now. We are also providing a toxic legacy that may last an eternity. Moreover, plastics can be found throughout the food chain, even ending up in the food on our plates.
plastics, like diamonds, are forever…
I was so shocked by what I had learned, I felt I had to do something and resolved to ‘save’ one square mile of ocean by collecting 46000 pieces of litter whilst walking on the beaches near my home. Every time I visited the beach I picked up all the litter I could carry. My challenge took exactly a year to achieve (September 2006 – September 2007) and in total I walked over 200kms and carried away nearly a third of a tonne of rubbish.
But sadly my challenge will never really be complete. Scientists estimate that the amount of plastic in the sea is increasing at a rapid rate, doubling every 2 or 3 years. I’m still collecting (I can’t stop!). But this could be a lifetime’s work and I still might not save a single square mile of sea…
My efforts may only be a literal splash in the ocean compared to the immensity of the problems are seas are facing. But what if everyone tried to do something about it? Luckily there is a lot more we can do – have a look here at the things we can all do…
Whilst walking, I took photographs and created a book of what I saw, contrasting the seemingly unspoilt beauty of the landscape with the man-made debris which inhabits it.
See my photographs in sequence from the beginning of my challenge.
To see specific locations, click the following links:
Aldeburgh – Bawdsey – Covehythe – Dunwich – Felixstowe – Orford Ness – Shingle Street – Sizewell – Southwold – Thorpeness – Walberswick
I have saved and photographed nearly everything from my walks.
See some of my collections.
The plastics I have collected have become my materials: I create huge installations with what I have found, ‘recycling’ it as art with potent message, playful but deadly serious.
See photographs from some of my exhibitions.“
“Tim Robinson [1935-2020] is the alter ego of artist Timothy Drever whose abstract paintings and environmental installations were seen in a number of exhibitions in London before he moved to the west of Ireland in 1972. Robinson originally studied mathematics at Cambridge and worked as a teacher and artist in Istanbul, Vienna and London.
He and his wife, Máiréad [1934-2020], [then lived] in Roundstone in Connemara, where, in 1984, they established Folding Landscapes, a specialist publishing house and information resource center dealing with three areas of particular interest around Galway Bay: the Aran Islands, the Burren and Connemara. The maps and accompanying books are beautifully drawn and meticulously researched, explaining, often for the first time, the derivation and meaning of hundreds of place names and representing a wide range of information about the region’s culture and landscapes.
[They] gained much of this information literally on the ground, walking with naturalists, historians, archaeologists and other specialist through the landscape. [Their] maps and books provide an invaluable guide for visitors to the region as well as nourishing community spirit by identifying the irreplaceable uniqueness of the local environment and history. Tim and Mairead also run Unfolding Ideas, an annual Colloquium Series for scholars, educators and artists to engage in public talks, small group discussion and workshops in Roundstone, Connemara.”
Poema Volcanico deals with the Ecuadorian volcanic geography. In 2014, while climbing the active volcano Guagua Pichincha, Eduardo Navarro created drawings from litmus paper, which measured the acidity of the gas emissions produced by the fumaroles inside the crater of the volcano. [credit]
“Eduardo Navarro lived in Ecuador between the ages of eight and twelve. During that time, Navarro would eat breakfast and dinner daily in front of a volcano, pondering it. The artist noted that as an adult, it meant a lot to him to return to the country to create a work of art that was both sentimental and a personal artistic challenge.
Leading up to the 12th Bienal de Cuenca, Navarro got the idea for his volcano-related artistic endeavor. He thought, “How can I work with the geography, landscape, and energy of the volcano?“ Instead of documenting a volcano (since we live in a world overly saturated with on-demand digital imagery), he wanted to create a project that would allow the volcano to express itself, and to do this, decided that he would have to enter it.
Navarro then got in contact with renowned Ecuadorian volcanologist Silvana Hidalgo of the Instituto Geofísico in Quito to confirm for certain which volcano it would be possible for him to enter without assuming the actual risk that it would erupt while he was inside. Through his extensive research and conversations with Silvana, Navarro decided to work with the Guagua Pichincha volcano.
Guagua Pichincha was known as one of the safer active volcanoes to trek into in Ecuador. To provide a comparison, Cotopaxi was another option, but Navarro explained that one had to be on the level of a professional mountain climber to enter its crater. Guagua Pichincha, on the other hand, was known in Ecuador as the “training mountain” that one would tackle before becoming a professional climber.” [credit]
“Once Navarro decided upon the Guagua Pichincha, he had to figure out what his process would be leading up to the climb and artistic execution. After spending the required monthlong period adjusting to the proper oxygen level for the climb, Navarro decided to enter the crater twice, with two different guides (including record-setting climber Karl Egloff). His first trip would be to see what the crater was like, test expectations, and become familiar with the experience of going inside it. His second trip would be geared toward executing the artistic portion of the project.
On the first trip, Navarro realized first-hand how difficult it was to trek down into the crater and come back up, regardless of the intense physical prep work he made sure to do in advance. Also on the first trip, Navarro identified fumaroles (the cracks where smoke escapes from the volcano’s center) as the feature of the volcano he wanted to pursue working with artistically.
In regard to how he was going to work with fumaroles, one of Navarro’s first ideas was to get a woven basket, lower it down into the crater, and then try to pull it back up and see what would come out. Navarro thought that this could be an interesting idea, not only because baskets are accessible and would allow gases and sulfur to move freely through them, but because choosing woven baskets would give him the opportunity to work with an object that was native to Ecuador.
Navarro then had only a ten-day period between his two descents to figure out the details of both the device he was going to provide the volcano with so that it could express something, and the protective suit he was going to wear during the trek (most volcanologists wear fire protection and oxygen masks when entering craters). He went to the local fire department and asked if he could borrow a fireproof suit, and while the personnel there couldn’t provide him with one, they directed him to where he could get the materials so that he could make one of his own.
There is no question that Navarro’s descent into the crater was a high-risk undertaking. Navarro noted:
It is a sad thing when you pass the guards in the front (entrance) at Guagua Pichincha. A few weeks prior, three geologists went in. One almost died and two had to be rescued with a helicopter, so this was much more dangerous than going for a hike, having a picnic, taking a photograph, and climbing out.” [credit]
“Returning to the execution of his artistic endeavor, Navarro revisited the Instituto Geofísico to speak further with Silvana, who was crucial in the process. When Navarro raised the question, “How can I make the volcano draw?,” Silvana suggested the possibility of using litmus paper to react to the sulfur. Navarro immediately loved this idea, and started working with using litmus paper to create a machine that would allow the volcano’s energy to leave a trail. The result was a hand-made frame that acted as a rack for the sheets of litmus paper, which fit inside a custom woven basket that he worked closely with local artisans to create. Navarro wore the basket like a backpack during his trek, and eventually lowered it into the fumarole. He then left it down there for one hour, providing the volcano with a chance to leave its mark and express itself as if typing on a PH-reactive typewriter (example of result featured below – top right).
Ultimately Navarro titled this work Poema Volcánico because of the act of “handing the typewriter” over to the volcano. In other words, Navarro gave the volcano the power to express something that was not his interpretation of it.
To expand, it can be argued that Navarro gave true authorship to the volcano because he wasn’t attempting to control the project’s result. In fact, throughout the entire process, there was always the chance that the volcano and litmus paper wouldn’t have any real reaction at all. Even after months of preparation and two rigorous climbs, Navarro admitted that he was willing to accept any outcome. For Navarro, “it would have been fine if the volcano didn’t have anything to say.”
Setting himself apart from the many other talented artists who have been inspired by volcanoes throughout the centuries, Navarro’s intention was to transform the volcano from subject into artistic collaborator. Navarro does not claim that the volcano is necessarily the author of this work, nor that he himself is the author of this work. To Navarro, Poema Volcánico is about how well he and the volcano know each other.” [credit]
“Brian Thompson has described his work as being “topographical in nature” – concerned with how places become known, understood, named and described. He is interested in the different ways in which we measure, describe and figure the land, and how his experience of walking through a landscape can be re-imagined through sculpture.
He uses a mixture of traditional craft skills allied to new technologies. His works ask us to imagine the formation of landscapes over a long timescale and explores the two- and three-dimensional forms and shapes associated with (amongst other things) walking through a site in order to map it and to unearth its history.
Thompson’s walks, recorded through GPS tracking or tracings from maps and aerial photographs, become the ‘line’ of the walks and the starting point of the sculptures and prints. These ‘lines’ are cut usually by hand and often in wood, with each layer becoming the template for the succeeding layer. Through small increments of size the sculptures evolve, tapering downward from top to base, incorporating errors and corrections; marking layer upon layer, in geological fashion, the history of their making. Sometimes these become ‘patterns’ for fabrication in materials and colors directly relevant to the location or simply have ‘come to mind’ when he makes the walks.
The work seen here combines forms alluding to archaeological and geological understandings of place, and to the imagined objectivity provided by Ordnance Survey mapping. Thompson notes of his three-dimensional works that “the sculptures serve as diaries, records, memories, souvenirs or trophies – celebrations of experiences of particular places”.”
“Based on philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s book Poetics of Space with a chapter by the same name, House and Universe describes duality and interdependency within local and nonlocal space. House and Universe is an allegorical series of photographs that combined living systems like floating geodesic capsules with bundles of personal objects I had collected and carried with me. When I was making this work in 2013, I had bundled almost everything in my possession into seven large boulder-like forms that could be rolled or pushed.
One photograph shows a place I lived in between a series of storms when the houses were covered in whatever scrap was available. A bundle sculpture is in front of the homes, symbolically connecting climate disasters with consumption.
That title alludes to the story of Sisyphus (the trickster who was tricked in the end) which stuck with me throughout the series, as I dragged these bundles from one place to another, across towns where I was invited to recreate performances, and back into and out of exhibitions and studio spaces.
Another image shows a naked body of a person in my life from behind, with a large boulder of things provocatively titled Life of Objects.
Own it.us was made at the same time: an online library that catalogs the things I bundled and illustrates the pathways of these objects, and how they came into my life. I’ve spent considerable time living in and within ecosystems or shelters I’ve co-built, some pictured in House and Universe, those experiences have asked me to reconsider my surroundings, to vision how collections can function as monuments to consumption, and how, as an inhabitant of NYC, I help make the collective monument called a landfill.
In absurd performances, I would pull the bundles through NYC, Really to emphasize the weight of these objects.
The sculptures’ wrappings are inextricably intertwined like cycles of production – through a chain of formal and informal exchanges, an object is mined, made, distributed, bought, exchanged, eventually thrown away, where it becomes something else. The photographs of these things echo the cobbled together things themselves: pieced together with images of disparate place, time, and space. Like time capsules, they function as obstructions and proposals. They block, interfere, and frame an encounter.”