Walking piece details
Walking Together is a meditative walk on horseback through Walthamstow Marshes exploring our relationships with more-than-humans, specifically equines, and inspired by the walking meditations of Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thích Nhất Hạnh.
‘This film provocatively and poetically situates us in the midst of a walk with rider and horse as they move through the interstitially urban lands of Walthamstow Marshes, in London, United Kingdom. However, this walk is not a performance of equestrian mastery over one of the most iconic animals in human culture. Instead, SLQS draws us into a meditation on the very essence of our connection to other beings. The simple, but often missed, act of breathing together is presented as a kind of prayer of sorts, not only to the Marshes as host and provider, but also to the very possibility of her and horse’s ability to traverse the Earth – breathing together, listening together, moving together in unison. SLQS immerses us in this intimate communion through her utterance of a mantra:
Breathing in: We are walking together this Earth;
Breathing out: This Earth that holds us;
In: Walking together;
Out: The Earth that holds us…
SLQS poignantly reminds us of our place on Earth with its teeming multitude of life forms, and the plain reality of our shared journey: that we share the air as it invisibly loops in and out of all bodies, repeating with every heartbeat.
But the film also raises questions that go unanswered: We are directed to watch horse and rider from an aerial perspective and made to inhabit that imperial gaze as they traverse the section of land that we come to see as a map: a patchwork of fields, cut through with train tracks, power lines, well-trodden pathways hemmed in by industrial buildings, roadways and urban settlements. The Marshes are scarred with the markers of human management and control, of human-animal hierarchies and the surveilled body, and like a specter, the unspoken politics of England’s horse culture – its wealth and privilege – lurks as we listen and watch. SLQS’s film draws us into a contemplation on how a relationship with an animal can, at one and the same time, help us appreciate our shared existence with other beings, while also remaining entangled in the social and political burdens of our time.’ (Street Road Artists Space)
This film was made by multi-disciplinary artist SLQS in collaboration with video and sound artist Bilal Singh and Spirit of Saigon.
This film was made by SLQS in collaboration with video and sound artist Bilal Singh and equine partner Spirit of Saigon