Earlier this year I made an ambitious claim about walking for at least 30 minutes a day and recording images from my walks. The project is titled #365walk and I am collecting images via my Instagram account in 2018.

Incorporating regular walking into my creative practice has opened lots of different ways to imagine the places that I encounter everyday. It is such a joy to take notice of the small things – the beauty of changing seasons, of the growth of a tree or the patterns on a leaf or a feather.

My walks have not been bound by routine. Some days I walk a lot and forget my phone, other days I don’t walk far but gather lots of images. I wanted this project to be driven by curiosity not by the number of steps. Of course, improved health and wellbeing is part of the intended benefit of such a project but not as rules or as a competition. I am terrible at following routines so this is as close as it gets ūüôā

Learning about healing plants with Dharwra Tours
Learning about healing plants with Dharwra Tours, © Tracey M Benson 2018

On the topic of walking and creativity – in late June 2018 I have an exciting opportunity to expand this project at a walking residency –¬†Made of Walking in Akamas in Cyprus. During the residency I will lead an augmented reality (AR) walking workshop exploring ideas of location, remoteness and distance. There will also be some interesting walking workshops by other artists that I will be able to take part in. I am very grateful to Arts ACT for providing me with ‘Out of round’ funding to support this project.

The rich landscape of Cyprus, plus its significance to Greek mythology are two very magical elements about this residency and the prospect of treading ever so lightly on this land is very evocative. In many ways it feels like a pilgrimage, tracing back to some of the stories I loved as a child. It is a wonderful opportunity to delve into the deep archetypal nature of the deities that are written on this land.

My interest in walking as creative praxis started out as way to balance a busy life Рweekend bush walks to manage stress. These walks formed the basis of an exhibition in late 2013 at Belconnen Arts Centre. Finding Balance: Mura Gadi brought together AR with maps of walking trails and video of bush walks around the ACT region.

In 2013-14, my interest in AR expanded, creating a number of AR walks for Dunedin, Auckland, Copenhagen and Kochi. In 2016, I was commissioned by Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation to implement AR for the Yakoa-Dhungala Augmented Reality Interpretive Walk.

What drew me to using AR was to give other perspectives on the readings of sites. It has a great capacity to tell stories that are multi-layered and rich. I love to engage audiences to be active participants as well as taking creativity out of the whitewashed gallery walls into the spaces which offer boundless inspiration.

 

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