One Hundred Days of Walking

I consider walking to be a form of listening. Before I arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, for a Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Arts and Humanities last year, I set myself a instructional listening score. “Winter Walking” (2022) reads as follows:

Go for a walk every day.

Listen to what the
snow, ice,
sun, wind,
trees, birds,
structures, and beings
tell your body about this place.

Keep listening.

I created one hundred accordion books as a visualization of one hundred days of walking: folded papers, strung together onto 100 feet of braided cotton string, to be hung from the ceiling in a meandering path weaving in and around and above a vinyl graphic of the North Saskatchewan River that so often guided or offered a touchstone to my daily walking.

As I walked, I listened with my whole body: my ears, my hands, my feet, my senses. I set myself in a listening orientation, attuning to this place and its multispecies inhabitants.

From some views the accumulation of artist books is an orderly path; other views show it as messy and complex. I see this as akin to how we listen. Sometimes it is straightforward and easy to listen; other times we must lean in close, try hard to block out the distractions and focus our listening attentions.

One Hundred Days of Walking was first exhibited at the Mulvane Art Museum, on the Washburn University campus (KS/US), January – March 2023. Photo credits here: Mariah Seifert.


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