Tapping the Lines

Walking piece details

Tapping the Lines is a relational experience where the urban environment is both acoustically observed with intention and directly interacted with through the action of walking.

At its core, the work consists of four simple instructions that create the opportunity for an experience both subtle and profound:

1. Select a single street in an urban environment.
2. Insert thumb tacks into the bottom of your shoes.
3. Walk the entirety of the selected street from one end to the other.
4. During the walk, use the sounds you create to improve the environment.

The selection of a line to follow forms a space for the performance that is both finite and determinate. It creates a fixed path with a beginning and ending point for the performance. The length of the chosen path is up to the performer, they have complete agency in the selection. Once the path is chosen, it relieves the participant from navigational decisions while traveling along the path and allows for a focus on the interactive actions.

The simple act of inserting thumb tacks into the soles of a pair of shoes transforms what are typically fairly silent modes of transportation into intentional acoustic agents that cannot be denied or ignored by the walker. They become tools that creates a space where the walker has a heightened awareness of the acoustic environment they walk through, as they contribute and interact with it through their presence.

The walk itself, with the directive to use the sounds created to improve the environment, becomes an improvisational collaborative performance. A heightened awareness of the walker’s contribution to the environment creates changes in their actions to suit the space. There becomes a focus the sonic agency of the individual within the field of sonic urbanism. Adjusting their gait, their rhythm and perhaps even having moments of stillness as they navigate this urban landscape, they embody creative decisions as their actions are guided by the interplay between sounds that are observed and that are created. The performer becomes not just an observer, or a passerby, but a contributor to and a collaborator in the improvisational collective soundscape.

Christopher Kaczmarek

Christopher Kaczmarek is a New York based artist whose work spans both experimental and traditional practices, including sculpture, site specific installations, performance, video, built circuits and solar-powered objects. His work is often interactive and...

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