The Path is Made by Walking

the path to chapel coppice, Ashley Chase, near Abbotsbury, Dorset

Artmusic’s Lachrymae was created by Alastair Goolden (sound designer), Rowena Pearce and Tim Millar (artists) and me (composer) and was installed in Chapel Coppice in Ashley Chase near Abbotsbury for Ridgeway Responses, a walking strand of the Inside Out Dorset festival in 2014.

In 2015 Alastair Goolden and I collaborated with Satsymph to create a geo-located version of this work, resulting in a perpetual ghost of Lachrymae residing in the woods to this day. You can visit the virtual version of Lachrymae by downloading Satsymph’s Land Bone and Stone App no.1 here and following the map to Chapel Coppice with your smart phone. N.B. At present LBS1 is only available for Google Android.

Around this time, and because of this introduction into geo-located sound walking. I became aware of The Museum of Walking and Sound Walk Sunday. Lachrymae and many of Satsymph’s other geo-located sound walks were included in the Sound Walk Sunday directory – an amazing collection of sound walks from all over the world.

Last year I was invited by Black Swan Arts in Frome to curate LISTEN, a summer season of sound art. Along with presenting music and art in different combinations and settings I wanted to work with Satsymph again and also to involve The Museum of Walking in LISTEN. We invited Satsymph to create a new local geo-located sound walk based on the aural histories recorded by Home in Frome in their Working Memories project. This new walk entitled ‘Walking Memories’ explores the centre of Frome through the voices and memories of those who worked in the town in years gone by. You can find the map and a link to the bespoke app on satsymph’s website here. This app is available for both Google Android and iPhone.

The final day of LISTEN coincided with Sound Walk Sunday and we invited co-founders Geert Vermeire and Andrew Stuck to join us for a one day symposium on sound walking. So for 2019 Sound Walk Sunday came to Frome.

I have continued to be associated with the Museum of Walking – now renamed walk – listen – create and as I type we are in the middle of the new month-long festival, Sound Walk September. As always the website lists sound walks that you can experience actually or virtually from all over the world and this year there are a host of other initiatives and activities available too.

One of this year’s projects is 30 Days of Walking, an opportunity for anyone to select a day and time and record their own soundwalk. 25 days of walking have passed so far with over 60 individual walks recorded and uploaded. There are 5 days left so why not record a walk of your own. I recorded my walk on 7th September in Glastonbury. In my Redstone diary for 2020 opposite the first complete week of September is a poem by Antonio Machado, Canto XXIV from Proverbs and Songs 29. The last line of the extract reads ‘The path is made by walking’. I decided to take this poem about walking as my starting point and wander where the poetry led me. I chose Glastonbury as that may have been where I started life. You can listen to my short autobigraphical soundwalk here.

It’s impossible to know where life will take you next. During lockdown I have had new encounters with Literature, and walking which has led me to think more about these two in combination. Poems about walking, thoughts and stories experienced while walking……..definitely fertile ground for new work.

At the invitation of walk – listen – create, on Monday 28th September at 7.00 pm, I will be co-hosting a discussion about the role of movement in the participation in and appreciation of art. I will describe my creative career in terms of movement from performing Music Walk with John Cage in the 1980s and creating animated installation art with 3 or 4 Composers in the 1990s to making movement-generated work and processional performances in the 2000s and discovering nature and new ideas through walking and networking with Inside Out Dorset in the 2010s. Everyone is welcome to join in the discusion – more info and tickets here.