“Most of the time walking is merely practical, the unconsidered locomotive means between two sites. To make walking into an investigation, a ritual, a mediation, is a special subset of walking, physiologically like and philosophically unlike the way the mail carrier brings the mail and the office worker reaches the train.”
Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust
Walking is the fundamental part of the everyday experience, that most of the time is so basic, it is rarely reflected upon, or even performed consciously. Yet, once this practicality is put aside, walking reveals itself as one of the most powerful tools of interacting with the human environment. This course will be about understanding and navigating that embedded power. Building on the rich knowledge and practices of walking in the fields of art and architecture, this course aims at broadening the field of exploration to include, for example, walking as manifestation or contenstation of power, tradition, religion or commodified experience, in order to explore not only its artistic and spatial potentials, but also it's political dimension. In this course, walking will be both a departure and a destination. This course proposes the category of "walking" as the tool to make immaterial underpinnings of the spatial experience visible and graspable. The students will use walking as a tool, and will critically research the established practices of walking.
“An Eskimo custom offers an angry person release by walking the emotion out of his or her system in a straight line across the landscape; the point at which the anger is conquered is marked with a stick, bearing witness to the strength or length of the rage.”
Lucy Lippard, Overlay
Each session will consist of a discursive input, discussions, collective, and individual work. The inputs will be structured in relation to the fields of inquiry, each session will be dedicated to one. Walking can be both an individual and a collective action, and this course aims at exploring both of this aspects. The course will start with a collective walk in the city proposed by the convenor of the course. The course will end with a collective walk prepared and determined by the students as a group. After the first meeting, each student, individually, or in pairs, chooses a line of exploration. In the chosen line of exploration, walking will be considered as a technology, "the active human interface with the material world", and as a medium of making research visible, and public. Students will be expected to produce a critical text that is, depending on their line of inquiry, either on the practice of walking they have been researching, or situates the walking as practice they have been working with, in addition to a more practical, walk based work.  Ursula K. Le Guin: A Rant About 'Technology.'"
"Walking is mapping with your feet."
Lauren Elkin, Flâneuse
"It is true that the operations of walking on can be traced on city maps in such a way as to transcribe their paths (here well-trodden, there very faint) and their trajectories (going this way and not that). But these thick or thin curves only refer, like words, to the absence of what has passed by. […] Itself visible, it has the effect of making invisible the operation that made it possible."
Michele de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life
By engaging with walking as a practice, both practically and discursively, this course aims to build the tools for critical engagement with the built environment, and its material and immaterial elements. Additionally, it aims through engaging with the seemingly simple action of walking in the city, to challenge the notion of the universal subjectivity and universal experience of space. Active participation in all aspects of the course, especially research and reading is the key component of success in this course.
The reader that accompanies the course will be available in advance per request. Contact the course convenor if you are interested.