Walk (Square), 2011, Single Screen, HD, 20′40″
Walk (Square) forms part of an ongoing series of projects investigating collective gestures or situations enacted in public such as walking, dancing or celebrating. The work extends a practice based on an analysis of the construction of individual and collective identities and their performative representation through photography and moving image. Most of the work is made through participatory processes with speciﬁc communities, subcultures or smaller informal groups. Walking en masse—whether it be in processions, pilgrimages, in carnival or protest marches—forms the starting point for this video work made with 1000 Hamburg kids. Drawn into the centre of the city from all directions, with art as the 'Pied Piper', the work refers to current socio-political situations of protest as well as to recent research across different disciplines into the meanings of groups and crowds. The piece questions whether the act of walking, of traversing the collective spaces of our cities may constitute a ‘form of speech’. On the square in front of Hamburg’s contemporary art museum a crowd of kids performs a simple walking choreography, based on Bruce Nauman’s video Walking in an Exaggerated Manner around the Perimeter of a Square, 1967– 1968, creating a shimmering form of movement that brieﬂy produces a moment of collectivity and visual coherence before breaking apart. Walk (Square) was made in 2011, a year in which situations of protest erupted around the world. Walking as a means to gather and to occupy, to claim and hold signiﬁcant public spaces became a dominant dynamic across different forms of political discourse. The project was also informed by recent scholarship on the power of the crowd, especially Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, 2007, by Barbara Ehrenreich, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, 2001, by Rebecca Solnit, and Philip Ball’s Critical Mass: How One Things Leads to Another, 2004.