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Pedestrian Culture

Link: http://www.pedestrianculture.com/

For place-based research and creative projects on the humble and revolutionary act of walking.

For artists, writers, composers, psychogeographers, historians, architects, general walkers, and anyone interested in issues of place.

. . . We also encourage contributions of place-based raw data.

His links.

His Atlas List of Sounds (sounds logged on my morning walk January-June 2003). It begins like this:

car accelerating

car accelerating, distant

car accelerating, with knocking, pinging

car accelerating, with stuttering, misfiring

car accelerating in short bursts

car accelerating, very loud

And ends:
shoe rolls over pebble

misstep on cracked or uneven sidewalk, or simply clumsy

aware of my own footsteps, stomps, or shuffles

aware of my own squeaky footsteps due to wet shoes

other undefined self-noise, shuffle, clothes rustle

moment of quiet--nothing substantial heard

He made a catalog of the Williamsburg Bridge walkway. Imagine what that means to have done.

And he has an email list.

The bibliography.

And he has a link to Henry Thoreau's Blog.

More than anything else I've seen (?), the concept of pedestrian culture is what the carfree movement means to me.

Combine the awareness of being in space that motivates Pedestrian Culture, with the freedom to choose how your city is built and how you live your life. . .

[There is, though, a social justice aspect to the carfree movement, which I think Survival International represents well. The cultures they are protecting don't use cars. Many of the poorest of any town don't use cars.]

Here is more (edited) from the end of Glenn Bach's thirteen-page CV. I have cut and revised it as I read and re-read it, now it seems almost a manifesto:

My work embraces walking--a means of commuting to work, a method of contemplation and meditation, and a process by which to examine landscapes.

Walking from, to, through, and within a place allows investigation into elements that make a place.

With drawing, recorded and cataloged sound, digital photography, and found poetry, I map landscapes.

I focus on sound to de-emphasize sight. I trace the sounds of a walk with a pen.

I take photographs that suggest sound or sound-making.

With slide shows I explore place data. What happens when each image in a cycle appears for seven seconds?

What happens when the images are paired with a soundtrack less regular?

Repeating, fleeting images and sounds build an experiential wash.

My work is mindfulness: attention to the places around me, selecting moments for closer attention,

giving life to my awareness of my place in the world.

All this reminds me of the evening I went to the nearby Campus Plaza shopping center and decided to pretend I was in Venice, Italy. I visited stores I had never walked in. Smelled the smells. Watched the parking lot. I was inspired by an older man who walks and walks the perimeter of the center and who was now sitting in front of the Starbucks, just sitting.

On a bench next to Vons I sat to meditate. Eventually in full lotus (not as good as hers). I would close my eyes. I also opened them without moving my neck or my eyes and watched the visual field.

The sun was setting. I had finished an application I had been stressing about. I focused on breathing deep and huge, and appreciated California's exhaust controls, as the cars circled and entered or left spaces in front of me.

Having spent that time there (two hours?) transformed a space I would never have thought to appreciate into a site of historic spiritual(?) experience, now inhabited by my memory of that evening.

I did this to be with people. A woman in a parked car in front of me, while the passenger shopped half an hour. One person spoke to me, a kid walking the sidewalk with the homeless black-clothed ones: smalltalk at first, later asking for ganja.

Conversations of those filling water jugs turned to wealth tips and "What do you drive?"

The parking lot is like the water. The sidewalk around the lot is where the people who have made it to land walk. The edge has a roof, it is a covered walkway.

In Venice I had been in Piazza San Marco in front of the tower, on the ground, facing the Basilica. I did not have a place to sleep, and tried sleeping crosslegged, listening to voices and footsteps. Later I walked out to a park and slept there after shitting in a canal and talking with some teenagers from Santa Barbara who had their own (their parents') 120-foot yacht.

Added by colin #442 on 2006-04-08. Last modified 2006-04-09 02:34. F0 License: Attribution
Location: World, United States, California, Long Beach
Topics: art, discussion list, magic, Our Culture, poetry, recommended reading, route information, spirit, walking

Colin Leath <>    

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