Walking Contención Island

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Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Walking piece details

Walking Contención Island

CC-BY-NC: Martin Eccles

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This work highlights the ecological issue of the covid pandemic and raises questions of the embodied act of walking and the nature of borders both real and imaginary. In response to the three periods of “stay home” restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic I walked into existence an imaginary island. For the first lockdown I walked from my house, for 20 minutes in any and all directions; I mapped my route and recorded my walking (sound, poetry and line). My walking makes Contención Island; I walk until easing begins – 42 days. In the second lockdown I walk the shoreline of the island and, in so doing, to also mark the days of lockdown. With a compass in the middle of the island, I measured 28 equal angles and, where each cuts the island rim produces 28 stretches of coastline – all of different lengths. I walk one each day and, over 28 days, build a walk around the entire island; the order in which I walk the sections is determined by chance – building an island across time. In the third lockdown I walked to places selected using chance operations and record their sounds for randomly determined periods of time.
The presentation will discuss the question of the creation of an island in the middle of a city, the symbolism of ‘the island’ in my walking practice and how this related to ongoing issues of the Anthropocene. I will also discuss my use of walking as an act of response to the physical and political constraints of the pandemic.

The work that this audio paper is based on is available to listen to in full at
For lockdown 3 there is also an audio map on radio aporee https://aporee.org/maps/projects/soundsofcontencionisland

Martin Eccles

Martin Eccles

I am a walking sound artist and poet who lives in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north-east of England. My practice aims to reflect the experience of my presence in and walking through natural environments. I uses a range of methods (predominantly sound and t...

Near Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

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