It’s been more than a few weeks since my last blog post. Since completing the Navigating Hope series on WalkClickMake, I have been hard at work preparing for my upcoming exhibition:
a month of psychogeographic walks with a greyhound
Winnipeg Architecture Foundation (WAF)
266 McDermot Avenue
September 28 to October 31, 2018
Opening: September 28, 7:00 pm
Walking Styxx is presented as part of Winnipeg’s Flash Photographic Festival, running from October 1 to October 31, 2018.
I’d love to meet you at the opening. And it will be a good weekend to come downtown. Friday is a Manitoba Culture Day (September 28-30) and there will be a number of events occurring nearby. Saturday (September 29) is Nuit Blanche Winnipeg, and the Exchange District—home of the WAF gallery—promises to be bubbling with activity.
You may already be familiar with Walking Styxx. Like Navigating Hope, it started with an idea that led to a series of blog posts on WalkClickMake. That led to a small self-published artist book, Walking Styxx, integrating words, photos and maps from the blog posts. And that, in turn, led to the upcoming show at WAF and yet another iteration of the Walking Styxx project.
Here’s a brief description of what Walking Styxx is all about:
Here begins a tale involving a dog, his doting father and their month of walks.
Styxx, shortened from his original name Firestyxx, is a greyhound. Or, more correctly he is a lurcher, the less romantic name for a greyhound mixed with a little bit of some other breed and used to race on “unofficial” dog tracks in the rural backwaters of states such as Ohio and Michigan. He has an unknown past and his age is pure guesswork (likely eight). But Styxx is every bit a greyhound, 80 pounds of muscle bound into a graceful Art Deco form.
It’s now summer 2014 and Gail and I are out with Styxx on our daily long walks, criss-crossing our treed neighbourhood, heading out to distant sites, looking for varied sensory experiences for our dog, searching out hills to climb, rivers to cross, prairie to sniff. All this starting from the front door of our house. And it occurs to me that I am exploring my surroundings in a new and fresh way that comes from the need to walk a big dog.
So I invent a project. I will take Styxx on a month of walks, recording our mutual findings as photographs and as maps. I devise a basic set of rules that I hope will create an interesting document:
- Each walk has to start from the front door of our house.
- Each walk should attempt to go somewhere new, avoiding overlap with previous walks wherever possible.
- Avoiding the course of previous walks should only be based on memory of what has already been done, not on a review of collected maps or photos. Faulty memory is to be expected.
- Other than a general direction or endpoint, each walk should be a spontaneous undertaking.
These are the kind of rules that define a psychogeographic walk, a term of art adopted by Guy Debord and promoted by the Situationist International in 1955 to describe an unplanned, uncharted, amble (or drift) designed to take one beyond the conventions of imposed road maps, directions, what-have-you to understand geography on a purely sensory level.
Styxx, a sight hound with a keen nose, might be the ideal psychogeographer.
Below are samples of the work that will be on exhibit. Because these will be site-specific art panels, they will not be available for purchase. However, the book Waking Styxx will be available at the gallery for a very modest outlay. If you are unable to attend the show during the month of October, the book can also be ordered from my Blurb Bookstore (CDN or US site).
But I do hope you can make it. Unfortunately, Styxx will not be attending the opening but his proud mother, Gail, will be on hand to regale you with endless greyhound tales.
Or should that be tails?
David, can’t make the opening night but plan to see it during the Oct run. Faith Johnston