The first of a series of guest blogs by contributors to Loitering With Intent. Jane Samuels has collaborated with The LRM many times over the years and is on the exhibition organising committee. Her art is passionate, political and visually stunning and I am thrilled she will be sharing new and beloved work with us. Find out more about her at http://www.milliondollaryack.com/GhostStations/
Image: Work in Progress: Anatomical Terrains Gloucester by Jane Samuels
Walking, for me of late, has been the thing that erases past and future. Yes, I know that the hill I'm climbing was mined: I can still make out the cart tracks. I know that it was lost to the enclosure act and I can tell which direction the glaciers moved across to carve it. I know the Manchester street I'm walking has rivers below, and was lined by now-buried buildings whose scattered stones still vibrate and jump to the rhythms of the city.
I know this favourite building, it's stone black since the industrial revolution, will be gone soon, and replaced with a glass coffee house (All these cities made of glass. They shows us our distorting forms as we move through the streets but refract and shatter their own. It's hard to feed your soul on a thousand images of yourself). I know tomorrow will be hard, right now. And so I walk.
I walk paths with the weight of all this past and future, and at the nexus of the two, there is only now. Me as a single point in time, moving forward: always in the moment but that moment constantly renewing. Moving, and yet, eventually: perfectly still. Able to stop and breathe, and take it all in.
When it's good, despite all this waffle, what walking does is get me out of my head. It's a sensory language that forces you to pay attention, and when you really pay attention you open yourself up to focussing your brain and truly experiencing the world.
It's been a joy to see so much exciting walking art during the selection process for Loitering With Intent. The artists, writers, thinkers and moochers collected together represent a diverse group of individuals who all want the same thing: to find their connection with place, and to share that connection with others. That, for me, is the cornerstone of the LRM: it connects people to their environment, and in so doing it brings people together too.
My work and the work of so many walking artists is about finding a way to represent that full immersion, and often invites the audience to take the exploration and make it their own. I've been trying to find that understanding of space and place for the past 17 years: as a pre-grad I walked the city because I was skint, and I fell in love with it. Love became obsession, became practice. Whether it's via the delicious immediacy of photography and the play of construction in my work for “The Abandoned Buildings Project”, or the long slog of graphite for “Terrain: Anatomical Landscapes”, I begin by exploring place and finding my own connection to it. Then I search for ways of visually representing that connection that I hope will draw you in to explore too.
I hope you'll enjoy what I do, and I know you'll enjoy the amazing programme of arts and events that Loitering With Intent is about to bring to the city. Mostly, I hope you'll see something that makes you want to hit the paths. Take it out of the gallery and off the page, and walk it out.