On Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m. Counterpath hosted an afterparty for Conor McGarrigle’s walking art performance, “Walking West.” Walking West is a durational performance involving walking the entire 26.2 miles of Denver’s Colfax Avenue. All are invited to participate and walk for any part of the route to discuss walking as art, recount their Colfax experience or just enjoy the exercise.
(on footsteps) Their swarming mass is an innumerable collection of singularities. Their intertwining paths give their shape to spaces. They weave places together. In that respect, pedestrian movements form one of those real systems whose existence in fact makes up the city. -Michel deCerteau
” This project is a hybrid work, which combines the resolutely analog activity of walking mediated through advanced digital technology. It highlights the ways in which digital technologies permeate all aspects of our everyday lives, seeking to leverage them as tools to support new spatial practices, which have the potential to facilitate new thinking on the city and everyday life. It builds on recent work that has explored methods of combining the 20th-century avant-garde practice of walking art and the Situationist concept of psychogeography with digital technology to foster new thinking on the role of artistic and social practices in re-enchanting urban space.
The very act of walking in the city has become a marginalized practice in many American cities yet by walking we can experience the city itself, at a human pace, as a space of discovery and encounter. The symbolic act of walking Colfax Ave acts as a lens to focus discussion on the role of the street in the cultural, social and political life of Denver. Walking West acts as a psychogeographic exposition of Denver as it traverses its best known, and most controversial street (once dubbed the longest, wickedest street in America by Playboy Magazine) moving from the eastern plains through the heart of downtown toward the west.
Walking West seeks to inscribe the virtual on the physical as it combines the physical act of walking with the ephemeral digital traces of its GPS track and the invisible actions of a satellite 400-miles above capturing the scene. The path will be marked with a physical line as a GPS device simultaneously traces a virtual digital line along the route, and the route will be captured from space by a commissioned satellite photograph.” – Conor McGarrigle
Walking West takes place on Friday April 11th starting at 9am at the intersection of East Colfax Avenue and the I70 and will continue for 8-8.5 hours. It is open to all. Please join the artist to walk and talk at any stage during the day. Locations will be posted to twitter in real time under the hashtag #walkingwest during the day. In the event of snow the walk will be postponed to Friday 18th April and any change of date will be announced in advance.
Conor McGarrigle is an Irish artist whose work explores the intersection of digital technologies and real space. His digitally mediated art walks have been performed internationally including at the Venice Biennale and the Miro Foundation in Mallorca. He is an assistant professor in emergent digital practices at the University of Denver, this is his second year in Denver and he loves Colfax Ave.