Join 4Culture, King County Parks, and artist Susan Robb for The Long Walk 2012, a time-based, open-source, and socially engaged art event.
Robb and 50 participants (*including YOU?) will walk more than 45 miles along the Regional Trails System from Golden Gardens Park to Snoqualmie Falls. Over the course of four days – Thursday, July 26th through Sunday, July 29th – this self-selecting group of trail trampers will experience the landscape in a unique way, camp in unusual locations, and engage with interactive artworks. Those not up for the trek can join the adventure at the all-ages exploration of place, the Mid-Point Mash-Up in Duvall on Friday, July 27th or follow along via Twitter and Facebook.
The intention of the project, according to Robb:
The Long Walk is a double proposition. First, it interrogates the Parks slogan “your big backyard.” This slogan suggests that the County parks and trails are our home; that we should feel content here. We should stretch out and roam. And that is precisely what the Long Walkers (will) do. The second proposition is a bit loftier; something for the critics to mull over. The Long Walk questions the materiality of art-making through its open-endedness. By operating on a real scale, in real time, The Long Walk vanishes as we make it. Its traces are not really measurable, even if participants will remember it well. Unlike more traditional work, The Walk does not seek to reference something outside of itself, but rather evolves as a uniquely twined experience of time and geography, community and endurance, and lived aesthetics with self-direction.
50 stranger-participants become a cohesive group with its own interstitial culture.
Walking has a way of fostering transformation. Perhaps walking in groups taps into something established during our ancestors’ transcontinental migrations. Possibly lodged deep in our minds, triggered by some primordial instinct, is knowledge that the people we walk with are “our people”, our family, our tribe.
By slowing down to footstep speed we become intimately connected with our home’s architecture and topography. On a one-to-one scale map, we witness a metamorphosis from city to suburb, farmland to forest. We also meet and entertain our neighbors—the trail users and trail-side communities.
“But how is this art?”
Socially engaged work like The Long Walk liberates us from objects and fixed meaning, moving us toward subjects and mobility. However, this “piece” of art is not completely free form. Events are curated to spur collective experiences and alter the social terrain. Even if by design, the outcomes cannot be predicted.
To this end, artists are invited to create work on, about, and with the trails and their users. This year, Colorado Springs-based artist Eric Steen will work with the Snoqualmie Brewery to craft a short run beer infused with edible and medicinal plants that grow along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Michelle Penaloza, from Eugene, will guide participants in the development of itinerant poems, meditations on the journey. Seattle-based artist and radio producer Jenny Asarnow will create a series of audio stories/confessionals of those living and working near the Sammamish River Trail. At the Mid-Point Mash-Up in Duvall’s McCormick Park- Missouri-based artist Joyce Wong will reach out to the community through her palm-reading project “An Excuse to Hold Your Hand”; Seattle’s Rumi Koshino will lead a community chime-making workshop that will culminate in a sonorous installation; and The Snoqualmie Floodplain Cabaret (which includes performers Jed Dunkerley and Sari Breznau) will perform a bizarre variety of musical theater that would impress even David Lynch. Other participating artists include Travis Souza, Web Crowell, Rodrigo Valenzuela, The Bicycle Choir, and Art House Brooklyn’s Sketchbook Project. All projects and interventions are intended to help participants slow down, delve deep into the meaning of landscape and home, and create a temporary culture.
The Long Walk is open to anyone 21+ who can hike an average of 18 miles/day. Participation is free but limited – sign up via Brown Paper Tickets starting on Wednesday, June 20th at 1pm!