Walk&Talk: Developing a Contemporary Collaborative Art Practice
Chelsea College of Arts
The research presents a contemporary art practice which I refer to as Walk&Talk. I distinguish Walk&Talk as a practice where artists and others walk and converse in a particular way through urban public space. My practice-based inquiry considers motivations, conditions, and outcomes which I argue differ from ‘walking and talking’ in media, education, politics and other art. Through considering the walk’s aspects, I identify the characteristics which may be drawn on to make and reflect on future Walk&Talks.
Eighteen Walk&Talks were conducted between 2011 and 2018, and from these a cyclical method emerged specific to Walk&Talk that contributes to practice-based research. The research considers Walk&Talk’s development as collaborative, and Michael Farrell’s concept of collaborative circles (2001). The inquiry contributes a study on walking and talking, with the characteristics explored, to walking art and creative walking fields.
Structured around Vignettes, as fictionalised versions of walks in Madrid, Calgary, and London, I reflect on the development of Walk&Talks and how they relate to other collaborative projects. The writing combines dialogue among those walking with meta-text in Afterwalk reflections (Schön, 1983). Drawing on multimodal research (Nelson, 2006), I argue Walk&Talk’s outcome is the walk itself: an ephemeral live sculpture.
Walk&Talk’s approach aspires to be responsive and open. The practice blurs boundaries amongst disparate types of knowledge (e.g. experimental and established) and distinct roles and interests (e.g. artists, participants and audience). I consider the broader field of artistic walking to demonstrate how Walk&Talk is a unique creative practice, for example, involving walkers in decision-making that promotes interpersonal dialogue. My research’s flexible model does not claim to be all-inclusive and continues to draw on Walk&Talks, theory as well as other practice and writing.