50 Walks

  1. Walk somewhere dull as though it were it interesting.
  2. Walk without any rules whatsoever. At the end of the walk have you discovered, despite yourself, a set of rules?
  3. Walk only uphill, or only downhill, or only on the flat.
  4. Walk with increasingly long steps as far as you possibly can.
  5. Walk in the direction that you least want to go.
  6. Walk backwards for a minute and then forward for a minute. Repeat, adding a minute in each direction each time until you have walked for half an hour precisely. Where are you standing?
  7. Write down a sentence on a page. Walk the sentence on the ground at a significantly larger scale. Draw a map of how the sentence relates to the ground.
  8. Walk halfway out of a room, then halfway again, continue until you fail to exit the room altogether (thanks Zeno).1
  9. Walk from darkness until dawn.
  10. Select a straight road with streetlights. For ten days straight walk along the road, making sure to observe the moment when the street lights go on and off.
  11. Walk into the fog.
  12. Walk in the rain until you are thoroughly wet.
  13. Walk down Al Rasheed Street in Baghdad playing a ukulele (or maybe not).2
  14. Catch a train away from the center of a large city – to a place where the highest central skyscraper is still visible. Now find your way back on foot to the center of the city without consulting a map and in the most direct manner possible.
  15. A group of people select a first and a last person to undertake an unknown walk. The two are formally introduced to one another and then the first person departs on foot (in whatever direction they wish). When the first person is just at the point of passing out of view then a second person sets off. The latter’s aim is to follow the first person without themselves being observed. Then a third person leaves, with the task of following the second person. Continue in the same manner until all the participants, including the person designated as last, have departed. When and if the first person encounters the last person then they should warmly embrace. Alternatively, the first person may prefer to pursue the last person intently.
  16. In a group of however many, walk in a single file, leaving a defined gap between each person. Do not speak.
  17. With a few others, on first a windy and then a windless day, walk in road-cycling style echelon formation.3
  18. Walk at a pace that is just uncomfortable to you. Maintain that pace for three hours.
  19. Document everywhere you walk in a day, from when you get up to when you go to bed.
  20. Document any walks that you make in your dreams.
  21. Go on a long walk through the suburbs. Shortly after you finish, lie down on the ground, close your eyes and go through the whole walk in your mind. Try to recall every detail. Can you spend just as long recalling the walk as you did walking it?
  22. Go on a long walk with somebody else, talking about anything and everything. Record the moments when the conversation lapses.
  23. Go to a busy street in a large city. Walk down the sidewalk without being noticed – that is without causing anybody to alter their path or to explicitly regard you as an obstacle. What kinds of technique are required? List them.
  24. Again on a busy city street, walk back and forth along a block at different paces. Is there one pace that is most efficient? Is there one pace that brings you into alignment with the mass of people? How are you aware of this?
  25. Walk down several blocks of city streets while never veering from your path. Walk in a straight line the whole way. Diagram the line that you actually walk.4
  26. Stop in the middle of a long walk. Do not continue.
  27. Walk through the supermarket collecting various items. Then walk back through the supermarket, returning all the items to their original places.
  28. Purchase an expensive air ticket to some exotic place. Go there by yourself for a five day walk. Refuse to talk about the experience when you get back.
  29. Document an imaginary walk, but one that could possibly be real. Worth providing tangible evidence for the walk – worn shoes, a smelly tee-shirt, illusory snap-shots along the way.
  30. Walk up and down a mountain once per day every day for a year. Document the view from an identical position at the summit on each occasion. If not the view, then the sound, the humidity, the barometric pressure – or your immediate thoughts.
  31. Avoid walking anywhere for a week.
  32. Avoid stepping on the cracks in the pavement, because, of course, beneath the cracks are bears, lions and tigers. Draw sketches of these animals, preferably from life.
  33. Avoid stepping on a single insect.
  34. In a manner similar to walk 27, collect every piece of trash that you find on a walk in a large plastic bag. The next day repeat the walk, returning all the items to where you originally found them.
  35. Walk up a steep hill without allowing yourself to catch your breath.
  36. Draw diagrams of your common daily walks (around the house, through the supermarket, etc.). Can you recognise any characteristic shapes, any clear geometrical figures? If so, assemble these into an overall composition in which the experience of walking is only abstractly legible.
  37. Draw up a list of all the possible items that you may need on a walk. Go for the walk, making sure you take none of the listed items with you.
  38. Walk along the bottom of the ocean in water that is over your head.
  39. From one headland to another, follow the footprints of another person along a beach.
  40. Arrive drenched at a dry section of pavement on a sunny day. Walk along the pavement until all trace of your drenched state disappears. Alternatively, linked to walk 12, arrive at a wet section of pavement on a rainy day. Walk along the pavement until all trace of your dry state vanishes.
  41. Walk until the moment that you discover that you are not thinking about walking. Keep a record of all of your ostensibly walking-unrelated thoughts and then map them to your actual path.
  42. Read the whole of a large, classic novel only while walking.
  43. Go walking with somebody, but with the understanding that you will each arrive at the start of the walk separately, proceed at your own pace and leave on your own. Naturally, you are welcome to text one another during the course of your walk together.
  44. Focus on the air closing behind you as you walk.
  45. Go on a weekly walk through a forest, checking the state of specific trees each time.
  46. Over the course of a year, collect the material stuck to your shoes at the end of any given walk. Bind this material together into a cube.
  47. Walk across your house from your front yard to your rear boundary in a straight line. Do not deviate. Do not attempt this if you live in an apartment – or, better yet, come up with some other way of accomplishing much the same thing.5
  48. Walk an almost unbearable distance in one direction and then walk back again. Continue for an equally unbearable distance in the opposite direction and then return to your starting point. Has anything changed?
  49. Blindfolded, walk along the beach as though it were the Arctic tundra – or possibly, if this proves inconvenient, walk blindfolded across the Arctic tundra as though it were the beach.
  50. In a standing position, grasp one of your feet with both hands and step upwards to walk at waist height across the room.
  1. see Wikipedia info on Zeno’s paradoxes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradoxes
  2. see Wikipedia info on Al-Rasheed St: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Rasheed_Street
  3. echelon explanation: http://www.cyclingtips.com.au/2008/09/echelon-the-crosswinds/
  4. the insistence on the straight line suggests La Monte Young’s famous conceptual art instruction: “Draw a straight line and follow it.”
  5. another La Monte Young inspired piece, with a smattering of Gordon Matta-Clark depending on how things go
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  1. Pingback: » Week 2 – Kaprow and Happenings, Environments, and Activities. CAOS201 Social Intersections

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