On Walking And Research
My research and art practice involve many forms of investigation, navigating across various fine art disciplines. Here is a formal statement about walking as an immersive practice.
My art work is inseparable from the research practices that inform it, which involve an investigation of identity in different contexts and places. The experience of shifting identities is often a contradictory one, and I seek to assimilate such challenges with various aides, like that of walking. These walks, meanders and other related practices open up possibilities for new imaginings, they facilitate concrete outcomes in the form of exhibitions, publications and “living” archives.
Research for me is an embodied form of immersive inquiry centered around particular themes. Walking is my primary research methodology, a mapping strategy that lends itself towards re-patterning, unravelling aspects and attributes of a place, its spatial character, and its relationship to my sense of self. My concerns, both academic and deeply personal, are about place, time, memory and subjectivity. This interdisciplinary way of working is a reflexive form of agency since it involves a processural engagement with space; it is a way of making sense, and deriving meaning over time, from the status of being an immigrant. Some of my works are at the centre of the process of non-representation, of my concerns and longings. They form the heart of my affective(ed) knowledge of these places; walking on the margins is, most significantly, a mode of expression that functions as a reformulation of my imagination, and my art practice.
The allure of walking is bound to my discomfort of an (un)known place. I am intrinsically bound to the place in which I find myself and compelled to investigate its meaning, its resonance to my person, often as an outsider. The practices of walking vary in their purpose, pace, and rhythm, and nurture creative and critical relationships to a place. The very act of bodily rhythm, the intimate orchestration between body and environment through affective motor and sensorial processes, not only opens up the present for contemplation and savoring time, it opens up the past, and imaginative spaces. This is the remarkable fabric of W. G. Sebald’s, Rings of Saturn, where the walk and its spaces are an intermittent thread to a narrative which visits other places and times. Similarly, identity is an evolving narrative, an ongoing dynamic reformulation that takes into account the complexities of a place. The rhythms of walking produce the possibility of restructuring our sense of place, through complex animations, encouraged by so many variables. I am fascinated by the way our bodies (senses) create new relationships in walked landscapes, facilitating, reconstructing different notions of identity.
Time, space and the self are synchronously centered and decentered during my walks, fostering an experience of transience and a relinquishing of stereotypical notions of the self. These walks function not only for the exclusive merits of research, but as metaphoric transactions with a place, engendering a sense of belonging that is both transformative and vital. By undertaking immersive research, that which is unknown, obscured and potentially disorientating, is unexpectedly revealed. Walking, listening, and looking are selective moments that transform the quotidian to reveal resonances with a place. My works create a rich person-landscape orchestration in which the becomings of the walking self unfold in conjunction with new places and identities, and which offer affective, imaginative possibilities, beyond the notion of a static, “fixed” self.