Winter Walking, Full Circle

At the beginning of May, almost exactly a year after I left Edmonton, I had the good fortune to return for a week, to exhibit the 8-channel version of my Winter Walking piece in the new Sound Studies Institute Gallery on the campus of the University of Alberta. It was a full circle moment, returning to the place where I walked every day for 120 days, where I listened with my whole body, and where I learned how to work with multichannel audio, now sharing the piece with friends and colleagues who so profoundly influenced my experience in that place.

With benches in the middle of the gallery, surrounded by speakers in a circle and in a room with a view, it felt like a quiet, contemplative space perfectly suited to experience the crunching steps and slow meditations of my winter walking.

The impetus for my return was an invitation to be a featured artist at the SpokenWeb Symposium, ReVerb: Echolocations of Sound and Space. Symposium attendees (musicians, archivists, poets, and sound artists) from across Canada and elsewhere came to experience the piece. The symposium format also allowed me to reflect a bit on how Winter Walking has played out in Kansas as a participatory piece during my exhibition at the Mulvane Art Museum.

I’m grateful to Michael O’Driscoll and other organizers of the SpokenWeb Symposium for the invitation, and especially to Marilene Oliver, Tom Merklinger, and Scott Smallwood of the Sound Studies Institute for so thoughtfully installing the work and advertising it across campus. And of course, a huge thanks to my friends-who-are-family for an amazing week spent together. What a gift to return to this former home, and to listen again in community.


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