Proposed activities for Walking alone and together
You are always alone (the subject), but always accompanied (by memory, culture and history, if not other
people). The walking stick is an aid and a reminder of this. Walking, when
mindful or “attended to”, serves as a poultice. It warms, soothes, eases, while
drawing out the toxins, the broken down cells, the byproducts of trouble. Isn’t
that why we go for walks when we are sad, angry, lonely? Walking and melancholy
go together, but walking and imagination and desire also go together.
Sometimes walking is accompanied by euphoria.
A walking stick may be thought of as prosthesis (an artificial foot or leg, allowing us to extend
outwards from our bodies, to probe and test before making footfall), and also
as a “locative medium” (to situate one’s self in the landscape, while passing
through it. The walker is the moving point in the topography).
The proposed “Walking alone and together” workshop will include activities which explore independent
ambulatory movement, and interdependent (assisted) walking, using walking
sticks which are “adapted” during the workshop (using attached bells and
rattles, wheels or casters, lanyards and other straps for attaching multiple
sticks to multiple walkers, blindfolds, coloured paints, etc). The workshop
will explore walking singly, in pairs, small groups, and then in large group
or “net”, in which various spatial
relationships are explored, such as loose groups of unconnected walkers, pairs
connected by sticks, and then larger groups connected by sticks. Walking will
be accompanied by talking (as talking and listening are exteroceptive means of
gaining spatial information when vision is blocked). Talking as sound and
talking as language will be investigated, exploring how we navigate by
listening to vocalizations when we do and do not understand the language being
spoken. Some of the walking will be done silently (as in walking meditations,
but also as a way of concentrating attention using other sensory stimulae).
Walking and proprioception (following, stalking, and tracking) will be included
in the activities. The workshop will conclude with reflections on what was
experienced, including the relationship of walking and trust, fear, courage,
self-discipline, judgment, patience and pleasure.