|Once a month for twelve months, at the same time of day, I walk the same route, from Petticoat Lane to Russia Lane and back. Each walk is filmed in one continuous shot, forty five minutes on the outward walk, and forty five minutes on the return - the film taking the same length of time as the walk. I am always in shot - the camera is hand held, sometimes following me from behind, sometimes jumping ahead, as Gimpo, the cameraman, darts into the road. Sometimes you see me across the market, or just a close up of my feet, walking. I am continuously walking, almost marching. The movement of my arms and legs is like a clock, like seconds hands, rhythmically marking time and distance. The meditative action of walking translates into the films as a kind of hypnosis - perhaps partly through the visual repetition of footsteps, and partly the 'flow' of the film through the city, the city moving past as the film is 'fixed' on my figure somewhere in shot.|
|I wear a radio mike, so the film records the sounds I hear as well as the sound by the camera - the swish and rustle of my coat sleeves, police sirens, occasional comment from Gimpo. My walk is layered with the camera's. The viewer sees what the camera sees, not what I saw - but it hears what I heard. It's a kind of displacement for the viewer which echoes the interchange of presence in the city, where ones hermetic experience is mediated by encounters and exchanges with the presence of others - a word floating free from a conversation, a footstep aside, a glance of recognition - so that you are subject to being brought in and out of your psychological 'space' by others' shared use of the physical space, by other walks.|
|As the films progress in series, month by month, they are becoming a kind of calendar. They track the seasons, recording visible changes in light and colour. The streets matt and light after the winter snow-salt; reflective and glossy, shiny paintwork after the rain; glaring sky in July, bright reds and bleached out blues.|
|History and change is necessarily embedded in the films - helicopters buzzing and sirens wailing after the July bomb attack on the Hackney Road bus. I walk, not yet knowing why they're wailing, buses on the wrong road, then a phone call at Bishop's Way/Cambridge Heath Road to check if I'm ok. An enforced diversion one month, where once there was a railway bridge over Brick Lane, and now a barricade; next month a 'wound' where the bridge is removed. Shops close, shops open, shops stay the same, same pair of shoes in the display, same packets of cereal in the window.|
|Each film has its own incidents and encounters, entirely random, but connected along the same trajectory - three boys lighting a fire under the railway arch as I turn the corner of the footbridge; friends crossing my path, unseen till I watch the footage; an abandoned stack of soft bread rolls under the double-cross of railway bridge, more usually a site for abandoned car parts. And the regular features, predictable but never certain - warming oil drum fire, tree of tied-trainers dangling on the telephone wire above, dried dog-shit, four months old same place on Glass Street, CD stall soundtrack at the market to start and end the walk, condoms on the footbridge, explosion of flour on the red wall.|
The repetition and sameness of each film in its structure reveals the shifts and differences in the place and time, in the way that any place is different on a different day, in a different mood. The repeated walk becomes an act of care towards the streets, to check that it's all still there, see how it is, what's happened in a month. Repeating the walk scores it into the street, almost to make a mark, to gradually trace a presence.
To date the walk films are up to walk seven. Walks one to three were shown at walkwalkwalk at Locating Design, Design History Society Conference, September 2005. The films formed part of our 'live archaeology' installation, including 'finds' from the walk, a giant map, and KPM School of Knowledge films. The walk films were shown on three plasma screens, each showing the same film, rotating the films throughout the duration of the installation, giving a continuous walking presence whilst invited participants were out 'doing the walk'. In November 2005 the (then) most recent film, walk five, was shown at Bonner Road Open Studios. The film was shown on portable mini DVD player in relation to other work in painting and drawing.