Walkscapes: walking as an aesthetic practice

In Walkscapes Francesco Careri explores the act of walking, taking a deeper look at three important moments of passage in art history, in which an experience linked to walking represented a turning point.

These are the passages from Dada to Surrealism (1921-1924), from the Lettrist International to the Situationist International (1956-1957), and from Minimal Art to Land Art (1966-1967).

By analyzing these episodes we simultaneously obtain a history of the roamed city that goes from the banal city of Dada to the entropic city of Robert Smithson, passing through the unconscious and oneiric city of the Surrealists and the playful and nomadic city of the Situationists.

What the rovings of the artists discover is a liquid city, an amniotic fluid where the spaces of the elsewhere take spontaneous form, an urban archipelago in which to navigate by drifting. A city in which the spaces of staying are the islands in the great sea formed by the space of going.

Fundamentally, for Careri, the act of walking—although it does not constitute a physical construction of a space—implies a transformation of a place and its meanings. The mere physical presence of humans in an unmapped space, as well as the variations of perceptions they register while crossing it, already constitute forms of transformation of the landscape that—without leaving tangible signs—culturally modify the meaning of space and therefor the space itself.

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