#liveart #performance #poeticsofactivism #artactivism
‘In black lies the possibility of hope.’ Derek Jarman
It began the first year I was living in Japan. Since my arrival I had come to know the term gaijin (foreigner/alien) all too well, it was sometimes the only word I recognised and I knew I was being talked about. That single word, singled me out as being the outsider. And I began to wonder: foreigner from where?
It was the 21 July 2012, my birthday: I decided to celebrate on the streets of Tokyo, by myself. The gaijin label made me want to get to the zero point of identity for “it is from zero in zero that the true movement of being begins” as Kazimir Malevich had described the movement of his painting Black Square.
I walked from the east to the west of Tokyo, over 12 hours, zigzagging my way through daily life: market streets, temples, parks, dozens of baffled policemen, a nationalist protest. I walked with my black flag, not so much to get noticed as to take in, to feel my way into the ground through my footsteps, in this way I might become less foreign, more familiar, and .
Through walking I consider what it means to be a citizen in the ‘polis’. What is the need for identity in the city? How do we experience our agency as individuals and how does this lead us to act politically, socially, convivially? These are some of the thoughts I consider through this action which I continue to walk in different cities: London (2013), Paris (2013), Berlin (9 November 2014: The 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall).
Black Walks is now part of Field Trip Project Asia since 2016 and continues to move without my presence. It is communicated through a set of poetic instructions, some provocations and a black flag which reads Walk for World Peace, packed inside a backpack. Black Walks has travelled to the Philippines, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand and continues to roam through Asia.
Why Walk for World Peace? It’s a utopian message indeed, but sometimes it’s by going for a walk that new insights appear. It announces a practical approach to activist worldings.
If you would like to propose a Black Walk in your city, please contact me and tell me your idea.
Urban walk performance
HD & SD video, voice over & sound, photos, texts, maps, drawings, posters, linocut prints, linen flags, stick, costume, animation
Berlin, 2014 / Paris, 2013 / London, 2013 / Tokyo, 2012
Screenings and group exhibitions:
People’s History Museum, Manchester (2016)
Hagiso Gallery, Tokyo (2013)
Onca Gallery, Brighton UK (2013)
Parlour Showrooms, Bristol UK (2013)
Group exhibitions as part of Field Trip Project Asia
Curator: Daisuke Takeya
Japan Foundation, Yangon, Myanmar (2019) / Review
BACC Bangkok, Thailand (2019)
Kuala Lumpur Biennale, Malaysia (2017)
‘Temperature of Communication’, Oil Street Art Space, Hong Kong, (2017)
Vargas Museum, Manila, Philippines (2015)
NIE Gallery, Singapore (2015)
Talks and presentations
2016 Made of Walking, Animart Conference, Delphi Greece.
2015 Body in the Contemporary City, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona.
2015 Beyond Contamination, Performance Studies International PSi Conference | Aomori Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan.
2015 Where to? The future of walking arts, Falmouth University, UK.