[score base: a paper with crayon scribbles in the colours of purple, red, yellow and blue; photo and score: Alisa Oleva (2021); score text: Walking, he argues, requires one to learn a spatial language and act out that language through movement; it facilitates an exchange between/a collection waste, garbage/a laboratory for exchange in/the landscape, and the other bodies it encounters there/rejecting the restrictive nature/especially for society’s most marginalised./relationship to the instructions will emerge during the experience.]
Alisa and Blake, 2 July, London and New York City; Melanie, 3 July, Kendal; Liberty, 4 July, London.
Alisa walked first, starting us off in central London. Fag ends and covid detritus (‘a new sort of rubbish). She walked in the evening and considered the ‘rubbish cycle’, deposited at night and collected so early in the morning. Though not all collected… ‘it survives longest in corners’. Walking through Brick Lane as if she is lost, Alisa noticed the Friday night specific rubbish. It somehow related to the architecture of the city like VALIE EXPORT’s Body Configurations (1972-1976). Driven by rubbish, ‘the relationship to the instruction is forming’. Though ‘it is “bad” to litter’, she loves the traces and cigarette ends become a path she follows into the night. Her search for rubbish traces making her stand out amongst the East London revelers.
Blake followed, starting in an outer borough of New York City. The rain poured down and rivers of trash filled the gutters. It was not the polite English rain to which he had become accustomed during his time in London. The storm is aggressive, like the city he is reacquainting himself with. It is NYC trash, not London rubbish (his pants are soaked, not his trousers). Scaffolding provides a rare moment of refuge. The score brought his attention to ‘society’s most marginalised’: the homeless (not the rough sleepers) who huddle in the dry wherever they can. Manhattan loomed from his vantage point in Queens. A reminder of the ‘chip on Donald Trump’s shoulder’. The need to emblazon the landscape with your name. Trash perhaps a more fitting T word.
Melanie walked in Kendal with a hole in her shoe. She wore a peaked hat in case of Lake District rain… ‘it didn’t so that was a waste’. She took crayons, like the score base, but didn’t use them… ‘Another waste’. (She points out, however, that waste is not rubbish and it is best not to conflate the two). As she walks through the South Lakeland District Council, ‘Rubbish is barely visible’, perhaps the result of ‘lots of bins, council tax and engaged citizens’. Kendal is ‘much “cleaner”’ than the cities we walk through, but ‘lots of security’. Fences and grates with bits of green trying to pop through… the restricted nature of the score.
Liberty walked in Lewisham. South London. Inner, but not Central. She left her texts to a minimum and instead her pictures do the talking. Flowers bloom in the British Summer: Hollyhock on Sandrock Road. Pollen litters a Honda CR-V. Her own yellow outfit visible in the reflection of the boot handle. (Not quite a broken mirror selfie, but a nice parallel to some of her other walks. Alisa too is often drawn to mirrors on the streets). The pinks, purples and yellows of Lewisham reflecting the underlying colours of the score base. ‘The best colours’, she replied after the walk.