Walking in Traumatic Time



Course Number



This advanced art course will introduce students to place-based art and activist practices that deploy walking to intervene in situations, discourses, and legacies of political violence. To this end, we will ground ourselves in the specific layers of colonization, ethnic cleansing, and empire building--as well as traditions of resistance to those forces-- that underlie our local region and the Northwest Coast at large.

In gradually developing their own place-based performance walks, students will learn specific tactics and approaches from historic projects like the 24-day anti-colonial Dandi Satyagraha (Salt March) led by Mahatma Gandhi (1930) and the anti-capitalist dérive (drift) developed by African and European artists of the Lettrist International (1952-57); as well as contemporary walking projects like Emily Jacir's clandestine video diary, Crossing Surda (a record of going to and from work), documenting her daily commute through a military checkpoint in occupied Palestine (2003), Joanna Rajkowska's enactment, Basia, of her late mother's longed for escape from a psychiatric hospital in Poland (2009), the Tar Sands Healing Walk organized by indigenous women from Mikisew Cree, Athabasca Chipewyan, Fort McMurray, Fort McKay Cree, Beaver Lake Cree, Chipewyan Prairie, and Metis First Nations (2010-14), Paulo Nazareth's tracing of old slave routes in Africa and the Americas (2012-15), and Elana Katz's performances along former gas train and van routes in post-Holocaust Serbia and Romania (2016, 2018).

Additionally, students will learn experimental approaches to documenting, narrating, and archiving walking performances through writing, film, photography, installation, and cartography. At base, we will return and return, in both practice and history, to the ways in which walking can occupy, participate in, and even manifest counter-situations of traumatic time, where violated communities of the living, dead, and nonhuman continue to demand repair, and what the perpetrator tells us is impossible is not only possible but necessary.


Fall 2021
Course Instructor