In 2017, the first edition of Sound Walk September was conceptualised by Andrew Stuck, the founder of the Museum of Walking. Sound Walk September in its first instalment was Sound Walk Sunday, which Andrew created to bring people together to make and showcase walking pieces and performances. Inaugurated at Made of Walking in La Romieu, France, a week long international encounters / outdoors laboratory bringing together over 50 sound walkers and creative walkers from all over the world, and where Andrew was host of daily public interviews/podcasts with Talking Walking.
Andrew, also a podcaster, interviews creative people who use walking as a catalyst for their practice; Talking Walking has been going strong since 2008 and has racked up over 100 episodes.
Back in 2006, Andrew discovered an audio tour called And while London burns, created by an activist art collective called Platform. It was an operatic audio tour in which you follow a barrel of oil as it is traded on the different exchanges in the City of London.
But, it’s also a love story between two characters both at one time traders, one now having left the City to live an alternative life in a yurt in Cornwall. And while London burns wasn’t locative media, the writers instead had used the surrounding landmarks as guiding points for the listener.
Andrew was so excited by this discovery and by undertaking the walk that he wanted to meet the creators behind the piece, and learn how to make similar sound walking pieces himself.
And while London burns was the inspiration for the Museum of Walking and the catalyst for Talking Walking, too.
Through Talking Walking, Andrew had met many creatives who have made sound walks and walking pieces. They work in many media, some are performers, others musicians, choreographers, theatre producers, poets, writers, sound designers, technologists and walking artists. Often their work was no longer available, sometimes made purely for a one-off festival. Or, technological upgrades sometimes made them inaccessible.
Sound Walk Sunday grew out of the desire to make these works accessible again. The first step was to define what a sound walk could be, to make Sound Walk Sunday as inclusive as possible, for all the different creatives Andrew had encountered.
Here’s the resulting definition of a sound walk:
A sound walk, or walking piece, is any walk that focuses on listening to the environment, with or without the use of technology, or adds to the experience through the use of sound or voice. This can include a scripted or choreographed score or work that has additional audio elements.
In 2017, Andrew started a simple directory and reached out, inviting people to submit work that they had already produced, and also invited them to premiere new work on Sound Walk Sunday.
Then, on the last Sunday of August 2017 over 70 contributions from more than 50 artists with live events taking place in south west France, the United States, northern Canada, Australia and London,
Sound Walk Sunday had captured the imagination and inspired people to make and broadcast new work.
The seeds were sown for Sound Walk September 2019, the directory grew into walklistencreate.org.