The history of walking is as old as humanity, but the history of walking as a conscious action for spiritual, conceptual or aesthetic experience is more recent. We walk to get from point a to point b, but we also walk to make sense of our surroundings, to clear our minds, or to get lost in our thoughts. Poets, artists and philosophers first romanticized the rhythmic connection between walking and thinking in the 19th century, but it was not until the late 1960s that walking emerged as a viable medium of self-expression in the visual arts, allowing artists to map, encounter, shape and reshape the world around them.
In A Woman Walking (The City Limits) the Calgary-based interdisciplinary artist Alana Bartol used walking as a medium to explore the carefully delineated city limit. Curious about “what bodies move alongside, within, and outside the designated city boundary” and “how the border of the city is inscribed on the land and felt in space”, Bartol attempted to walk the 174 km plus perimeter in its entirety using the City of Calgary map as her guide. Along the way, she collected found objects, recorded video, and captured photographs. These items not only document the artist’s performance but reveal the curious traces of the inhabitants who occupy or have occupied these liminal spaces.
Curated by Shannon Bingeman, Alberta Society of Artists (TREX Region 3)
16 art works
1 TV Monitor
70 running feet
Cover image credit: Alana Bartol. A Woman Walking (the City Limits), Bearspaw Dam, 2017. Photograph. Collection of the artist