Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ways of acting...

No image today.

My bag is packed for my Walk East (described in the previous post). I'm very excited, but there's an odd feeling as well. I don't want to overdramatize, but it's a different sensation to any kind of trip I've done before, for a couple reasons:

1) I have no idea where I'll be going. Literally five minutes into the walk I'll already be somewhere I didn't expect. The earlier variations will make the most difference as well. I keep looking at maps, guessing where I'll sleep tonight - zoomed out on google maps looking for the green oases of parks with enough trees to hide myself. Which takes me to the second reason:

2) I am aware that I will be encountering the city, suburbs, towns and rural areas in a different way. I've been reading an anthropologist named Tim Ingold lately, and paraphrased one of his ideas and added it to my desktop background:

"Ways of acting in the environment are ways of perceiving it."

I think this is a part of what got me interested in doing a random walk like this. I'll be acting differently in areas I know very well, and I expect that it will lead to a different perception of my environment. I'm already anticipating a number of realizations:

- Parks may be oases of privacy, and areas to sleep in.

- Fresh running water to bathe in may be nonexistent. It will be difficult to find a place to hole up for a while to wash and dry clothes as well. I'm fine with washing shirts in gas station sinks (as long as my shirt doesn't touch the sink - gross!), but then where do I hang out and dry it off?

- Large suburban and rural areas may be like deserts - no privacy, no gas stations for water.

- The above problems will be reduced when I get to wilderness areas, but lack of food source will then be a problem.

The last point is another part of the reason why I wanted to do this project. In the past, I think I've had a romantic notion of being able to 'rough it' in the bush for extended periods of time, but the truth is that it's almost impossible for one person to do such a thing alone. We count on technology and tools and each other to sustain ourselves.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Walking East

My art has been a little different these days. Painting, drawing and animation are still a part of it, but my art practice is blurring more with the rest of my life. There are many reasons why I've gone in this direction - some aren't conscious, and some I probably don't yet realize.

One thing I'm doing is called "Four Stories" - a part of it is shown above. Every day, at six random times, I'm doing a drawing in a random direction, at a random "zoom level". There's no intention to make a nice composition. I'm doing it for one hundred days.

Another thing I'm doing, starting this Wednesday, has no name yet. Lets call it "Walking East". At 4:00 pm, starting at Emily Carr University, I'll be walking eastward. At every intersection where I can't tell which way is more "east", I'll randomly determine which route to take. I won't just be using roads - for me, a "route" will be roads, paths, ridgelines, river edges, streambeds, deer trails... anything that is linear and easy to follow, I guess. Maybe I'll make new definitions of "routes" as I go.

During this period, I'll still be doing "Four Stories" - so a part of this project will be contained within Four Stories. I will also be shooting random video footage eleven times per day, on the hour, between sunrise and sunset. I don't know what I'll do with the footage yet - probably edit it together. I'll also be tracking my path on a topographic map. (No cellphones / GPS, but I'll have a compass just in case.) I'll also have my backpack, tent, campstove, camouflage tarp, lots of raingear, a fishing rod, and other camping necessities.

This is the first part of the project - the next parts will be reflecting on the journey, maybe writing about it, and doing something with the  footage. Who knows, it could expand into a larger project, or it could lead into thoughts on another project to undertake. All I know is that I'm very excited about doing it, and it feels more "me" than any other artwork I've done up to this point in my life.

When will I stop? This is, I think, one of the more interesting parts. I'm not going to start with any food, and will only buy food at places I walk past. Fortunately, there's a market at Granville Island, so I can stock up somewhat (but with fairly heavy food). So the project will end when I get hungry. There won't be any stores out past Chilliwack, so unless I get lucky with buying good lightweight food, or people give me food (which I would never ask for), the project will finish within a week.

If you see me on the side of the highway, toss me a cracker!