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TAKING A LINE FOR A WALK
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TAKING A LINE FOR A WALK

COMPANION CURATOR > James Oliver

RESPONDENT > Amaara Raheem

Making visible the trajectories and duration of transition within and across place.

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Taking a Line for a Walk is a participatory performance work that employs principles of playfulness, participation and colour as a means to make visible the trajectories and duration of transition within and across ‘place’.

David Thomas and Laurene Vaughan draw on previous work to present this performance installation as an outcome of their practice-based conversations on the nature of place, and modalities of articulating invisible/intangible aspects of (spatial) transition. Within this practice, colour is used as a navigation device.

Taking a Line for Walk, extends the artists’ articulation, with the development of a two-part installation/event linking the RMIT Gallery and Margaret Lawrence Gallery in Melbourne. At each site, a series of different coloured and sized lines are stacked in the gallery, presented and waiting to be taken to the streets. Members of the public will be invited to draw their path – a line – from, between or around one gallery to the other gallery. These lines ‘walked’ and thus drawn in space will connect experiences of exteriority and interiority, nature and culture, by making visible the ephemeral experiences and connections of daily life.

The action is not prescribed in a way that participants must make their way from one gallery to another – participants may elect to perform more or less movement – and it is anticipated that, as a public-sited work and situation, there will be a multiplicity of sociocultural engagements. It is part mobility, part encounter.

The project encourages active looking and greater awareness of the spatial practices of mobility. It will be variously documented and represented with small colour images and photographs accumulating in the galleries. No matter what the distance of the journey, the work makes visible individual passages through space, embodied and accompanied, from one location to another.

  • Take a Line for a Walk, Margaret Lawrence Gallery VCA, 2015. Photography: Kay Abode.

  • Take a Line for a Walk, RMIT Gallery, 2015. Photography: Mark Ashkanasy.

  • Take a Line for a Walk, 2015.

  • Take a Line for a Walk, RMIT Gallery, 2015. Photography: Mark Ashkanasy.

  • Take a Line for a Walk, 2015. Image contributed by participant.

  • Take a Line for a Walk, Performing Mobilities, 2015.

  • Take a Line for a Walk, Performing Mobilities, 2015. Photography: Zihan Loo.

Respondent > Amaara Raheem

Taking a Line for a Walk by David Thomas and Laurene Vaughan is a participatory artwork taking its title from Paul Klee’s famed description of a drawing. A bundle of sticks painted in contrasting colours (red, green, blue, white) stand against RMIT Gallery and Margaret Lawrence Gallery walls awaiting human activation. Taking a Line for a Walk invites viewers to draw the space between these two places by taking a line for a walk, literally.

When I first entered RMIT Gallery, it took me time to notice these painted sticks standing silent and immobile against the white wall. I often find that a quiet work takes a while to make itself known but, when it does, it shimmers. Each stick is the same and also different; different in colour, weight, length, breadth. My hand tentatively reached out, all twenty-seven bones clasped a long, lean, white body of wood. Do you choose the stick or does the stick choose you? It’s hard to say, we must imagine that it’s a dialogue, certainly that’s how it seemed to me when I found myself unexpectedly faced with latitude. What I recall now is that one afternoon in October, a pile of footfall took me down to the river. I didn’t exactly choose my direction, it was most certainly an interweaving of footsteps with stick-steps. Sometimes dragging, sometimes wielding, sometimes a feather, the white one in my tail, through people, trees and trams, the lean, light, white, wooden stick and I crisscrossed southward, all in lines on a grey day.

When taking a line for a walk, the artwork multiplies its resonances, bringing my attention to all manner of lines. There is the line in my hand, sometimes horizontal, at other times vertical; there are topographical lines between the two galleries; there are timelines, all of which are to be mapped through moment-to-moment awareness and play. There are lines between human and object, those detailed moments when lifelines and longitudinal lines laced my focus to the interconnectedness of time, body, place and things. There are mythological lines, kinaesthetic threads loosely sketched between body and imagination. By drawing a line in continual motion, by sharing a path and sharing a pulse, I can say for certain we were here, and also somewhere else.

In this artwork, the familiar route is stretched just enough to push me over the edge of comfort. A journey walked a hundred times transforms into once-upon-a-time. Down by the river – where exactly, I cannot say – I crossed a line, a line that I had not seen before, and only appeared on the day that I held a split cut cord in the palm of my hands. How long is a line? Why it stretches all the way around the globe. It is straight and narrow, curved and white. It disappears from time to time into fog or pattern. It is a woodpile, a walker’s tracks, it is a bundle still growing, another year’s cutting.


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