Introducing Marŝarto, the walking art award

In Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy you can let a Babel Fish swim in your ear, letting it, immediately, translate every language you hear, from anywhere in the universe, to your own.

During the first dot-com bubble, before Google Translate hit the scene, a service with the same name tried to accomplish what we are now so familiar with, instantaneous translations. Several mobile phone apps now allow for two-way discussions between humans, each speaking in their own language. Similarly, you can use your phone to take an image of a menu, or a sign, in many languages, which are then translated, within the image you took, in to a language you can read.
There’s no real technical reason why we can’t have a near-equivalent of a Babel Fish right now. And though Elon Musk’s credibility, with his mismanagement of Twitter, has greatly diminished over the last few months, meaning that his claims around Neuralink should be taken with a bucket of salt, it still is likely that we will see direct brain implants within most our lifetimes, meaning that we won’t have an actual fish swimming in our ears, soon, but instead a plug, or wireless connection, directly beaming into our brains.

All this to say that, in a not so distant past, when many were envisioning the rise of the global working classes and the establishment of a universal brotherhood of man, these same visionaries also realised this brotherhood needed a way to talk to each other in a shared language.

L. L. Zamenhof was born in the Russian Empire, but in what is now Poland, and developed what is now the most widely spoken constructed language. The language became known as Esperanto, ‘one who hopes’ (for a better world, and world peace), and today is considered to have around 100.000 speakers, with some estimates as high as 180.000.

Now, we are very excited to announce that, from this year onwards, walk · listen · create will host a second award besides the Sound Walk September Awards; We will now also recognise walking art that is not soundwalking art with a separate prize, with this year’s deadline being the end of October.

Submissions are open from today until the last day of October, 2023, for the Marŝarto Awards 2023. Submit your work, and challenge your peers. We can not wait to see what you’ve been working on!

Why ‘Marŝarto’? It means ‘walking art’ in, of course, Esperanto.

Walking, as a practice, is an individualistic experience, but it also has the power to create a shared understanding of reality by emphasising the unique interpretations that we, as individuals, give to similar stimuli. 
In other words, ‘walking’, as a process, has the ability to bring us closer together. Establishing an award that recognises this, is well suited to be named in a language that was designed to attempt to achieve exactly that.

To accompany the introduction of the Marŝarto Awards, we have also expanded our submission process. You’ll be able to provide a more in-depth description and documentation of your work. We hope to see a lot of that.

The Marŝarto Awards will run from November 1 to October 31, but for this first edition, all walking art (that is not soundwalking art) that was created during 2022 and up to October 31, 2023, can be submitted. For soundwalking art, you can still submit your work to the Sound Walk September Awards. When you submit a piece, you can decide where your work fits best.

With establishing the Marŝarto Awards, we also introduce a Grand Jury, specifically for this award, only. Read up on the members of the Grand Jury, which in its first year consists of:

  • Blake Morris; Walking artist and researcher based in New York City.
  • Clara Gari; Artist, a researcher, art curator and cultural manager, based in Spain.
  • Claudia Zeiske; A Scotland based curator and art activist who realises a lot of her projects through walking, bringing people, ideas and politics together.
  • Fiona Hesse; Art Historian (Ph.D.), Curator, Lecturer based in Germany with focus on Modern and Contemporary Art, specialised on Walking Art.
  • Radhika Subramaniam; Associate Professor of Visual Culture, Parsons School of Design/The New School, New York.
  • Viv Corringham;  A singer, walker and listener, British but currently based in New York. 

We’re very excited to start working on bringing the Marŝarto Awards to the general public, and to award outstanding creations in the field. And we feel very privileged to be working with such an outstanding group of artists and creators.

You can already submit your work for the Marŝarto Awards 2023. In its first year, all pieces created in 2022 and 2023, up to the last day of October, are eligible. We are looking forward to seeing what you have been working on.

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