Walking East 002 was the second in an ongoing series of walks. Each walk begins in downtown Vancouver and heads eastwards, according to the details listed at the bottom of this page. The walk is a kind of nested art practice within my overall practice. It’s a constantly changing and infinitely complex studio that I’m moving through, learning from, and responding to in different ways.
From Walking East #002:
Site for Dialogue
Digitally Manipulated Digital Photographs
. . .
Stand closely with the lee side of a hemlock, out of the wind and rain.
Stand for a long time and drift off,
A deer emerges from the foggy past.
A deer, standing closely with the lee side of a hemlock, out of the wind and rain.
A quiet alertness, shifting weight, aware of the temperature and the wetness in the air.
Thinking about food and water, but content to just stand for the moment.
a cloud of moisture.
Waiting Out The Rain (Deer Teaching)
Still from Digital Video and Digital Photograph
Light is Falling Batteries are Dying
Still from Digital Video
There is a fascinating negotiation between species happening here. Sleeping in a large undeveloped lot, big cedar and ferns, in between houses. Dogs barking all around. There’s sign that some large animal has been through here; the ferns are trampled rather than walked-around. A lot of animals having been sleeping under the cedars; the ground is smoothed into hollows, and there are more trails than dogs would make. There’s chewed-up-and-shat out cardboard on the other side of the tree. Thinking about what the dogs are barking at, and whether the dogs keep away the bears. Cooking now involves a consideration as to whether bears or dogs will smell it, and how food will have to be stored in a ‘bear bag’ hanging from a tree.
Whereas most of my conscious decisions were based on visual sensations in the city and suburbs, now I’m consciously negotiating on visual, olfactory and auditory levels.
The sun is setting now, the light is changing and a police siren is going off in the far distance. The coyotes just started howling in tune with the police siren, and the dogs in backyards are barking in response. Realizing now that the trails and hollowed-out areas under logs are from coyotes. They obviously sleep in this lot. It’s going to be an interesting night.
Coming back is really fuckin’ hard, I tell ya.
Standing here, waiting for a bus and being completely inactive and passive and waiting for something else to transport me, something beyond the actions of my own self.
I haven’t done that in the last four days.
Time is completely different as well.
It’s all one big time.
Now I’m whipping by in one of these same vehicles that have been battering me with their sound and movement for the past four days.
Time is no longer subjective.
I’m back in this big illusion of a ticking clock that’s subject to nothing but itself.
No weather, no sunrise, no sunset, no tired feet, no wind.
Details of Walking East 002
On this (second) walk, I sent out an email which explained the nature of my walk, and invited people to call my cellphone while I was walking:
In the first walk, I was struck by the vastly different perspective I had of an area that I’ve lived in for so long. I was also struck by the complete distance I felt from the people in my immediate vicinity, and of my inability to share what I was experiencing in an immediate, direct and personal way. So this time around, I am inviting you to give me a phone call.
I invite you to call any time between sunrise and 9 pm, and I invite you to share the phone number, and/or this email, with anyone else who might be interested. My cellphone number is 778-319-2405. No pressure! I don’t expect you to call, and if you do, the conversation doesn’t have to be a long one.
The walks have a variety of meanings for me: They are an excuse to get outside, a means to use my whole body and mind to learn, to come to new understandings of the landscape and the beings that surround me. I’m also seeing it as a part of my art practice, as a means to create art, as art in itself, and as a program of research for my Masters of Applied Arts degree. Above all, it is something I enjoy more than I ever would have imagined.
The message was also posted to my Facebook account and to my public blog.
During the walk, my cellphone had the following answering machine message:
Hi there, you’ve reached Jay White. If you’re hearing this message, I’m either on the phone, or the batteries are dead, or this walk is finished and the phone is off. If the batteries are dead, I’ll try to recharge them, which will probably become increasingly difficult as I get further away from the city. That’s about it. Bye.
Rules of the Walk
– When I don’t know which route is more East, choose between the routes randomly.
-A route can be any linear trace created by human and/or non-human: road, sidewalk, deer trail, stream bank, ridgeline, gully.
– Do not knowingly trespass.
– Buy food along the way, but do not stray from the random route to buy food.
– The walk ends when I miss a meal or become exceedingly uncomfortable.