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is the first walk that really became a filmic soundtrack and it
created a format or style that I have been experimenting with ever
since. The narrative uses the device of a man offsite watching
a surveillance video of a woman walking in the garden. This woman,
my voice, communicates with him through the image he sees. She
also refers to his postcards of the museum grounds that he sent
her years before. They are trying to locate a moment in time when
things went wrong between them.
start to hear accordion music … crows
in trees to right. Accordion player walks around listener
Janet Let’s stop and
listen, close your eyes, trust me.
Janet I have the postcard
of this place that he sent me years ago. Things have changed a lot.
The grass is long now, coming up through the stones on the walk here.
The building in front of us is gutted, the windows broken, skylights
caved in, the brick walls singed by smoke. The sculptures are covered
with graffiti. The old house is still standing, partially protected
by the razor wire fence around it I guess. Someone’s cooking
something. Smells like burnt meat.
sound of fire, dogs barking to
right, then jet goes by overhead
in left ear All
I could see on the video was you walking along this path but I
couldn’t see in front of you, to see what was to come.
walking sound, sound of explosions, seagulls ... then silence
back. It’s like the picture again, beautiful green lawn.
People walking around, sound of birds someone’s giving a
lecture. Let’s stop and listen.
sound of museum tourguide lecturing
about Moore sculpture talking about its solidity and how the figures
are trapped in time. she talks about Moore saying that sculpture
is like a journey. after you’ve walked around it, your view
Janet One simple action
can change things so much. If only I hadn’t looked out to sea right at
that particular point.
George whispers in left
ear I think we should try it one more time.
Janet He’s with us, trying
to find that precise moment, lost in the particles on the videotape.
commissioned Janet Cardiff to create this walk in the park for a group
exhibition featuring contemporary artworks that drew upon perambulation
or peripatetic thinking or a combination of both. Her piece guided
spectators through the nearby landscape, starting from an exit door
near the far end of the museum and near the sea itself. The soundtrack
mentioned specific views and objects, but it also included intimate
histories and the impression of planes overhead or a jogger from behind.
The fictional and the factual alternated for the visitor who was ‘choreographed’ through
headphones. Particularly memorable was the way in which the narrative
isolated the visitor from the landscape and, at the same time, involved
them by virtue of specific visual references. This pull between the
intimate and the unknowable, as well as the private and the public,
grew stronger as the walk progressed. The walk was an exercise of trust
between the artist and the participants, who never knew where they
were being led, or really even why, and it engendered an active and engaged
attitude in the audience and their relationship to art. I also remember
how I was smiling all along the way, because the narrative gave me
such great pleasure.
Audio walk, 11 min.
Curated by Bruce Ferguson for the group exhibition Walking
and Thinking and Walking, part of NowHere
Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark