Following their AT Thru hike, Harpo+Groucho (aka Sara & NKO) were invited to do a 2014 summer project with the Henry Art Gallery called Field Studies. Using the gallery as a portal to frame artists’ practice outside the architecture of the institution, Field Studies attempted to link real, immediate experience to the mediated, abstract experience which usually defines our interaction with museum culture. Curated by Whitney Ford-Terry, the exhibition ran all summer and featured many NW artists, who each constucted various performances and curated experiences which occurred outside the gallery.
Special for this opportunity, Harpo+Groucho crafted The Drunken Boot – a one-day unplanned day-long dérive – the public presentation of our ongoing work titled *Map Not Included. On July 20, we convened with new and old friends, and then just walked, together and apart, for 8 hours – ending our outing at the Hideout on First Hill to recap our experiences.
Acknowledging the Romantic history of walking (Villon, Rimbaud) along with the Situationist concept of psychogeography & dérive, H+G along with invited and uninvited guests, wandered the streets of Seattle in a freeform, unplanned adventure.
Whilst hiking the AT, we were always on a path with a designated endpoint sometime way in the future. With our dérive, we experimented with a short time-based exercise where destination and impact were not premeditated.
After a quick intro and snacks, the group of 20-30 folks all set forth around 11:00am. As the group dispersed people fell naturally into walking groups. While the walkers in general transcribed a westerly ark – headed towards Gasworks, then into Fremont, and some venturing as far as the Ballard Locks and Myrtle Edwards park – what happened in between varied wildly. Some people chose to walk the entire time, while others did laundry or ran home to charge their batteries. Some people got free samples at Theo, others watched crabbers come in with their catch at a tiny public shore access in Ballard, or smoked a joint with DK Pan (who one might meet outside the Olympic Sculpture Park at any unspecified time). Some wandered through open air farmer’s markets, while others cozied up at a cafe with their journal. Some saw signs. Some returned to former places of meaning and let memory and emotion wash over them.
Harpo texted the individuals quotes, inspirations, updates and ideas throughout the day, and finally an update on where to gather for the secret happy hour. Some participants sent us pictures or thoughts or poems back in response. Almost everyone met us at the Hideout to regale us with their experiences.
We thank each and every participant who set aside a good chunk of a rainy Sunday to join us in this excursive diversion – as well as the super Whitney Ford-Terry, who hooked it up. Also, our lovely photographer Lindsey Rae Gjording who provided all of the images above. And not to forget, Mighty-O for the tasty vegan, organic snacks. Kudos all on getting lost…
Down with the simulacrum! Only the real is really real!
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Talk of Rimbaud and psychogeography and the simulcrum isn’t very accessible to me as an intellectual lay person but I’ve taken the time tonight to understand it a little bit more to figure out what in the hell you are jibber-jabbering about on this site. I sincerely wish you well with The Drunken Boot and look forward to monitoring your endeavors as you share them on your site here.
T – psychogeography is basically the association of emotions or intuitions with physical space. For example, how our example of home is encapsulated by our experience of the childhood home, and how every home we enter after that conjures echoes of the original home (Bachelard – Poetics of Space). It gets more complex in urban environments because our memories are less specific and more fractured, so our emotional responses to architecture can seem surprising or accidental… that’s what happens as we wander around the city, I guess..
Thanks for this follow-up comment, I was bracing myself a little because I came across as not particularly affirming in my note last night when I believe your project is a valuable, interesting one. My tone was more a reflection of my effort in cutting through some of the esotericism.
Yes – trying not to be super esoteric, because the entire practice is based in walking, fellowship, sharing of food and drink, and making art. As an artist, I often find I need to develop a critical defense for doing what feels good, which can come across as elitist, but isn’t the intent…
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