The Relocated Eye [Walking in layers] a performative walk.


Event details

10 - 30 Sep, 2020

Global invitation for a remote and performative walk during Sound Walk September and beyond

The Relocated Eye is a project that encourages the walker to approach or to discover a particular place from different perspectives and points of view. It is a performative walk that you can do alone or in a group. And the idea is to move your point of view several times in one particular place that you have chosen. So it can be in a landscape or in an urban environment. Your eye moves, your body takes up different positions so that you start looking at the place from different points of view and try to understand it better. Your body is an everchanging center from which you will observe and visualize the location. And with the pleasure of really ‘sensing’ the city (or natural place) and being aware of it.
The city with its own urban ‘body’, with all its emotional and functional ‘organs’. It is great to deal with a place in a creative and relational way, based on these personal observations.

Walking in layers. You may think that you know the city, or place where you live, because you have been there all your life, and yet it is a fact that many things elude you. As an example: you can ‘read’ a place, observe it from different layers that are present:

Historical: traces of history and how the past has determined our present, shaped the place and became a natural part of our cultural and historical heritage in which we moveas citizens, walkers.
Social: traces of our community life, public places of meeting, (catering establishments,bistros, cafes, restaurants, station areas, neighborhood parties, sports activities).
Architectural: the development of architecture over the centuries and how it helps us to determine the characteristics of the place. Which architectural periods are present? Do you experience this as a plus or are you bothered by some buildings? What are their salient features?
Economical: places of economic activity, (shops and shopping streets, banks, employment offices, how this is embedded in the urban fabric).
Politics: administrative places of power and order, have they always been here, originated in the past? How did they influence or shape the place? Do you notice a structure that has grown over time in this place?
Religious: can you still find traces of the past concerning religious activities and at the moment: how do citizens experience religion in the urban structures of a city or landscape (churches, pilgrimage sites, chapels, small places of devotion, ancient ancestral sites, signs of religion in the landscape)?-
Art: What is the historical background of these works of art in public space (statues, art integrations), what is the reason for their existence and what message do they convey?Are they artifacts of emotion, beauty, philosophy or do you experience them as an ‘ennobled jammer’?
Botany: which wild plants can you find in the city, how do they try to survive? Do you find more of the same kind of herbs in a certain place? What is their name and growth pattern? Is it exceptional to find them in an urban environment? Do people care about these plants? Are they native species or are they newcomers due to climate change? Do you know about their medicinal properties and how are they named in folk belief? Do they have a symbolic meaning?
Social: what is the impact of our existence in a city through noise, pollution, mobility, crime, loneliness, citizens, committees, poverty, migration, aid organizations, …

We may come to the conclusion that the place we thought we knew so well still has yetto be ‘discovered’. That we now, through this layering within an urban or landscape fabric, can experiencing it through different eyes. More attentive too.

Here are a number of ‘assignments’ or ‘exercises’ in carrying out a walk.

01. Collect words that you find important, that stimulate you.
02. When walking, send an imaginary message to the landscape, to the environment.
03. Become soft inside, whisper, like the wind.
04. Document a conversation you have overheard. What did that voice that spoke really say?
05. Choose something that seems hidden. Find a way to give this a voice.
06. Write down five things about the landscape or walk that you had never noticed before.
07. Make a list of all the smells you perceive. Could you describe them?
08. Register patterns you observe. Natural things, clouds, traces of animals, insects.Record details of a building that most people ignore, pass by.
09. Try to look at something from different angles and sides.
10. Try to absorb the entire landscape with your attention. What attracts your attention the most?
11. Take your time to close your eyes for a moment. Listen. What memory comes to mind?
Feel what is around you. Behind you, in front of you, above and below. Try to get into it, become part of it.
13. Look, speak a silent language, only with your eyes.

Stefaan van Biesen

Stefaan van Biesen

SWS Award winner SWS Grand Jury 2024

Since 1990 Stefaan van Biesen has made walks which he documents and displays in drawings, installations, photography, models, texts, videos and photographs. He regards the act of walking as a kind of subjective thought process in the urban and natural land...

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