At 10am, Monday 3rd November, 2014, the second part of A Walk Announced began. Following on from A Walk Announced first hosted by Vane Gallery in Newcastle, a 165 mile walk took place over three days, and the exhibition location of the event was this website.
This walk is second in a two part series, following a migratory path from Thurso to Canada. On Saturday 5 April 2014 (one day event) the first part of the walk took place:
Landscape has always been a major inspiration for artists; every medium – from painting, sculpture and photography, to poetry and music – has been used in the attempt to portray it. However, the question remains: can the direct experience of the landscape ever be truly represented within the context of art?
In ‘A Walk Announced’, Zoë Anderson attempts to bypass the limitations of representation of landscape, particularly within a gallery context, by dispensing with the artifice of any kind of pictorial, auditory or verbal description, and to access the sublime nature of the experience through what Anderson calls ‘framed silence’.
At 6pm on Friday 4 April, Anderson will started walking from Thurso in the Scottish Highlands the 55 miles to the town of Helmsdale, Sutherland, where a 10 foot high bronze statue, Exiles, depicts a family forced from their home. This statue commemorates the people who were cleared from the area during the 1803 eviction of tenants by the Marquess of Stafford, who were forced to leave their homeland and begin new lives overseas.
As Anderson started her walk, Vane gallery in Newcastle held a launch for the event from 6-8pm. The audience was invited to enter a space devoid of any visual or auditory content. The artist intended that the empty gallery space act as a psychological or emotional space in which the audience reflect upon the actual experience of her ‘real time’ journey: an interior journey of their own.
During the following day, Saturday 5 April, the gallery stood open as a place of silent contemplation while the walk continued. As Anderson ended her journey that evening, the work drew to a close.
The walk is a metaphor of a journey towards knowledge. Highways, roads, footpaths, even dirt tracks have always been more than trade routes for the movement of goods: they have been conduits for the dissemination of ideas. Whether through advancing armies, spiritual pilgrimages, or forced migrations, through the basic act of walking, whole cultures have spread and grown.
The walk from Thurso to Helmsdale was planned as the first part of an ongoing project. For this latest walk (and the second part of the project) Anderson walked the equivalent of the length of the Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where many of the people of Helmsdale emigrated, and where an identical statue to the one in Helmsdale has been set up. The walk took place in real time in a gym on a treadmill in Newcastle.
Working now with the restrictions of life, money, time, validity, this 165mile walk asked the viewer to imagine, with Anderson, the landscape and physicality of the walk itself. Please comment and respond as you see fit after the conceptual walk itself.