'Ambulant Science Studio: a series of walking practices introduced into Venice' in 'Further; Artists from Wales at the 50th Venice Biennale'
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The Ambulant Science Studio was commissioned by Patricia Fleming, curator for Wales's inaugural exhibition at the Venice Biennale of Fine Art (2003). It was the initial output from a NESTA Fellowship (2002-2005), and a development of my interest in tactical approaches to understanding social relations, in particularly those produced in urban environments. The tactical mode adopted in this project was walking, a mode I had used in earlier works, as a metaphor in the software art project The Web Stalker (1998) and as practical method in London Walking (2001). Here, I focused on walking as a means of 'coming to an understanding' of the urban environment. This approach grew from a series of interviews conducted with artists and curators known for their interest in 'walking work', including Richard Long and Dirk Snauwaert, and from a critique of the literatures of place and space within walking work, questioning the orthodoxies and common-sense of this way of working. In response to conventional attitudes to 'walking work', in which walking is typically a formal, spatial practice or a means of establishing a route or trail, I focused upon its relationship with literatures and practices of 'place'. The novelty of this approach was that it introduced speculative devices into everyday practices within the city, for example, in my piece 'The Stones of Venice', granite paving stones gathered from builders yards in Padua and bound for the calle and campi of Venice were graded according to how far they might be thrown, suggesting other uses for the very fabric of the city.
15 June - 2 November 2003, Wales Pavillion, Ex-Birreria, Giudecca, Venice, Italy.
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