LET’S TAKE A WALK
MARIE CHRISTINE KATZ
“Let’s Take a Walk” is an interactive, participatory performance and installation which began in 2009 and continues to the present.
Once a month, people all over the world join me for a group walk using directions I send via Twitter. Filming our journeys, the combined footage shows us walking in different places but moving in synch: walking together apart. In addition, participants are invited from the general public to physically walk with me. Joining us is a town crier, speaking aloud and tweeting our directions, and a drummer to help lead the procession. I wear a knitted overskirt that unravels with each step, leaving a physical trace of our path.
The project began with questioning the problems and opportunities of contemporary communication. I’m especially interested in the social interactions created from new technologies like Twitter, and how it both creates new possibility for bringing people together while also creating an atmosphere that ultimately maintains our isolation. Using the “old-fashioned friendly stroll” as its inspiration, “Let’s Take a Walk” attempts to bridge relationships between traditional and new modes of communication, between closeness and separation, between the physical and the virtual, and between the preserved and the fleeting moment. Exploring ideas of isolation and community (calling to mind both guided tour groups and flaneur wanderings), I’m interested in pushing further the elements of “Let’s Take a Walk” as a tool that can foster gathering, thus creating new conversation between people from different places, with different beliefs, who are experiencing conflict and differences. My hope is that it is a way to open up conversations between the participants. The walk, being a symbol of unity, is one way to do this.
So far, there have been 24 performances of “Let’s Take a Walk.” It has included walks I’ve guided through Strawberry Fields in Central Park, through Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park, through the crowded streets of the New York City Marathon, following the route of the 1967 Peace March on Martin Luther King Day, and through the MoMA, during the opening exhibition of performance artist, Marina Abramović. I conducted walks in Paris during La Nuit Blanche (as shown in the included image) and in Spain.