Inspired by Richard Long I created a walking art piece titled Cement Shoes. The process involved keeping a journal of where I walked to and from outdoors, and counting how many steps it took as well as random observations of my environment, and afterwards a sculptural interpretation of the accumulation of steps on cement and trash was attached to the bottom of a pair of shoes. For one week I noted each step I took, writing the number down as soon as I was indoors, soon it became difficult to think of anything other than counting the number of times my feet met and left the ground, not losing track, all the other thoughts trying to surface were consciously pushed aside. I would stop walking if I had a thought too good to let go of, pulled out my journal and recorded it, and continued when I could focus on counting steps again. I watched the ease with which people walked without thought to the method of measuring that is a step, I gave thought to its meaning.
The structure of the performance gave me the chance to stop and observe my motions, where each step landed, and how rapidly my feet moved (sometimes faster than I could count) as well as remembering where I travelled daily. Living happens in steps, in an order, in specific places, touching a place for one moment in time, and then moving onto a new place and time. The debris that is part of the piece represents the memories of trash thoughtlessly stepped on and forgotten by the urgency of the next step. If people became accountable for each motion they made, perhaps we would remember to step lightly. Each shoe weighs maybe 40 pounds and is a challenge to walk in, which I did, as a performance to demonstrate the action of walking in urbanized places where we walk with leaving almost no mark, perhaps we are the ones being marked on by the environment.
December 31, 2008
January 3, 2012
city, debris, shoes, steps, travel, urban, walk, walking, weighty