[score base: A $60 Spotify Premium giftcard, green with a spotify logo in the middle; photo and score: Morag Rose (2021); score text: When Is a Walk a Piece of Art?/the Street Scene/bereavement/Toward New Landscapes/cricket grounds—the Michael Carrick testimonial/These prodigal citizens brought back with them their mutated suburban values of predictability and control./in the face of this - agree and disagree through culture.]
The Loiterers Resistance Movement; 7 November, 2021; New York City, Manchester, and various other locations
Morag’s score was walked as part of the Loiterers Resistance Movements First Sunday walks. Morag created the score, and then a hybrid group of walkers interpreted it together, some gathered in person in Manchester, other, dispersed walkers connected through a WhatsApp group. My street scene was the New York City Marathon, along 4th Avenue in Brooklyn. It was being held in person again and framed as a symbol of moving from the bereavement of the pandemic toward new landscapes. We shared bits of the soundscape - the backdrop to our walking experience and instruction. The chatting sociality of the LRM quite different to the cheering street part atmosphere of the Marathon.
I ended my walk meeting Bess at my friends’ bar, which,being located on the route, was hosting a marathon watching. We were all agreeing through culture to cheer on a kind of re-emergence. Vige, who I hadn’t seen in ages, brought her brother, who was visiting from Manchester. Bringing the connection full circle, he was neighbours with Morag.
In Manchester, Morag writes, they ‘gathered in Cutting Room Square, Ancoats, a space utterly transformed since the First LRM wander there in 2005. We’ve revisited many times, each walk marvelling at the pace of regeneration whilst also asking critical questions about sustainability, infrastructure, community, access and equality in the neighbourhood. Recent media coverage declares this one of the hippest places to live in the UK whilst also revealing tensions about the use and maintenance of public space around the marina. The script led us to listen as well as watch, and the soundtrack revealed the multiple melodies of place—not all harmonious or played at the same speed. A diversion onto the tow path led us not just to the sound of geese but the discordant splash of pumpkins thrown into water. On the street we noted absences, including the loss of the Peeps (one of my favourite public artworks), anachronisms (ornate relics from earlier times) and absurdities (benches not made for sitting on). This new landscape has a proliferation of gates, billboards and hyperreal promises but the Industrial past and its denizens still linger. As we sat overlooking the water, consuming the contradictions in one of the new bars, we were connected not just with the ground beneath our feet but loiterers in other parts of Manchester and the rest of the UK as well as Blake in NYC. The script gave us an oblique focus as we immersed ourselves in atmosphere to we collect snippets of sound along with images, memories and cold fingers, but we still can’t give a definitive answer to the question “When is a walk a piece of art?”’
You can listen to a snippet of our soundscape here.
Tamsin joined the walk from Edinburgh and has written about her experience here.