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All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking

Tate Modern – East Room
Saturday 14 April 2007 / Saturday 28 April 2007

Welcome to All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. This is a course delivered in two sessions of 3 hours each, with a two week intermission during which participants are invited to develop an individual project.

This course will take participants in a personal journey through the city, exploring the artistic tradition of walking as an art form. From Baudelaire’s flâneur and the Situationists’ theory of Psychogeography, to Francis Alys’ performances and Richard Wenworths’ photographs, artists have often made use of walking as a source of inspiration, or a starting point for the creation of art works.

Participants are encouraged to consider walking as a creative medium, and to think of the pedestrian as an active creator of public space. Going beyond the idea of the flâneur as a detached observer of the metropolis, the course will consider ways in which pedestrians can make their own marks in the city, and the ways in which this experience can be documented to be re-presented in a different context. Participants will explore their own relationship to the city, and to other pedestrians and occupiers of public space.

Walking will be explored as an activity that embodies both the possibility of an active and a contemplative life, and will be encouraged to produce their own allegories for these philosophical approaches to how life could be lived in the contemporary city.

Outline of course activities

During the first session, participants will be introduced to the subject and activities covered by the course, and will take part in a number of simple exercises. The exercises will give them some background and ideas towards the realisation of an individual mini-project during the two weeks leading up to the second session. Participants will receive a detailed brief for their individual project and a list of resources. The web log will be used as a platform for discussion amongst participants during the break between sessions.

The individual mini-project will be structured around two walks that participants will be asked to plan and execute independently. For the first walk, they will concentrate on the structural aspects of creating a walking piece, and in the generation of thoughts and ideas towards the second walk. The second walk will focus on the dynamics of interaction with the environment and with others. Participants will be provided with a simple and uniform format in which to document their two walks, and are expected to bring the documentary piece to present it at the start of the second session.

In the second session, participants will start by sharing their individual mini-projects, and will receive feedback. The group will then work together and in small groups to conceptualise, plan and rehearse a simple group performance / intervention. In the last section of the session, the group will perform and document the piece, and finally review their collective effort.

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