This is an archival page discussing the initial conceptual / creative development of Notes for Walking, a locative artwork staged at Middle Head National Park as part of the Sydney Festival 2013. For information on the final project please visit the dedicated Notes for Walking site here. Archival documentation ( written 2011) follows below.
Notes for Walking is a proposed new project, a locative artwork and spatial narrative; an intimate and poetic exploration of a specific landscape, using mobile phones and location based technologies. Emerging from research into pilgrimage, spatial narrative and possible intersections with mobile technologies, Notes for Walking takes inspiration from the 88 Temple Buddhist pilgrimage on the Japanese island of Shikoku. Taking the poetic, haiku-like instructions (mantras, songs, goeika) of this pilgrimage as a conceptual starting point; Notes for Walking will involve people gathering and following a set of image, text and video notes as they traverse the landscape; as if they are picking up the fragments of a notebook which has split apart and scattered its pages across the ground. Using mobile phones to access the fragments within an augmented environment; people will experience the real world overlaid with questions, longings, musings, and instructions; like a monk following the notes of an artist, or a poet following the trail of a sadhu.
Notes for Walking is an artwork emerging from my doctoral research into the potential resonances between mobile/ locative media, narratives tied to landscape, and a range of pilgrimage practices. Inspired by the intriguing goeika (haiku-like poems or mantras) of the Shikoku pilgrimage, Notes for Walking touches upon practices and experiences of walking landscape; drawing upon the geography, the natural world, and exploring the unexpected joys, discoveries and liminal zones embedded within everyday life, and the landscapes we move through. Although the conceptual starting point is influenced by the Shikoku pilgrimage, the actual artwork will be exploratory and poetic rather than religious. Notes for Walking will explore notions of landscapes imbued with meaning, fostering fresh experiences of landscape that can resonate with contemporary Australian audiences using new technologies.
While Notes for Walking will be developed for a specific landscape, and will draw upon specific topographical features of the environment as it unfolds, it is also extremely adaptable to different locations. Envisaged as a walk to take place in a natural or partially natural environment, Notes for Walking may take place in a park, river, bushland or coastal environment – but importantly, an environment where the natural world is accessible in some way.
Notes for Walking will utilise emerging free location based services and platforms for 3G mobile phones, such as Layar or Junaio, allowing walkers to freely experience the notes as site specific materials tagged to actual locations and features of landscape. The entire experience should able to be undertaken within approximately 20-30 minutes. The project will be comprised of around 12 to 15 locative fragments or notes; primarily mixed media compositions of image, text, video and audio. While locative art emerged several years ago in media art contexts, many works required access to custom-built devices. The large uptake of the iPhone, and the increasing use of location based services, means that audiences are familiar with GPS based media. Yet amongst the clutter of information and technologies at our fingertips and in our pockets; what kinds of experiences might offer heightened resonances with landscape, the real world, and the environments we traverse? Notes for Walking leads us into a re-examination of the real world and the spaces we move through, re-engaging with the world that is before our eyes, and beneath our feet.