Collaborative Earth Walks


Day #5 Friday 10th August - Celia Johnson - There Are New Maps. Where All The Stories Change. (Collaboration with Site and Story.)

This collaboration was with objects, the landscape and narrative, and though no other artists worked with or alongside me, the conversations of the last four days informed the work I made on my own.  Solitude provided a space in which to consider and reflect on significant ideas and interests from the week, as well as the experience of walking the land with others.

From a series of images: Viewpoint

In our collaborative walking, ideas about the ways in which the relationships between landscape and narrative are understood became the underpinning of our experience and work.  Both the sudden act of remembrance and recognition and the constructed stories that arise from collective or personal myths began to inform our perception of place.  Landscape and narrative is connected in imagination, and walking allows an engagement and immersion in that connected space.

The experience of walking in the landscape is different from the view of it.  When we walk a place, we take ourselves into it and, in so doing, experience it bodily, knowing it immediately; we walk in the near by, and move towards the distant, walking into the view. 

From a series of images: Viewpoint

Views, like the path twisting ahead of us, promise adventure, romance, possibility, the excitement of not knowing quite how we might get to our destination, or get back.  Walking the path involves our own weight.  Sometimes the joy of a walk is in a kind of temporary weightlessness, the pleasure of leaving things behind.  Sometimes it’s in the feeling of somehow being both grounded and limitless, of merging with the land and the elements.  And sometimes, it’s in contemplation, in finding meaning and resonance in place. Walking allows all of these, and all of these are underpinned by a connection and an engagement with the earth.

This week has been all about connections – with each other, and with the landscape.  Walking together with purposeful attention to place, but without an imposed outcome, allowed for the experimental exploration of both the site and shared interests, as well as the development of some exciting work and the beginnings of future projects.

For my own part, the week reconnected me with important stories, from my own past but also those shared stories/myths about the land. Continuing to use walking to explore, map and articulate the experience of place, this week’s conversations and collaborations have allowed me to engage with exciting ways of reading, re-imagining and re-presenting a site.

The Minotaur, his Chariot and the Grain Barn

Minotaur Enclosure

Carry Me Down (2) – work in progress

Persephone and the Minotaur – work in progress

Celia Johnson