Athens Biennale | OPEN CALL | Workshop

Walking in the City; a workshop on the poetics of space

The workshop centers on walking through Athens, according to specific guidelines. The main material for “Walking in the City” is a stack of post its, that should be taken to every walk and used as a notebook. After the walk is over, the notebook is disassembled and the post-its are used to create the ever growing “Map of Walking Poetics”, which is at once an archive of walks and a trace of an ephemeral action.

In a nutshell, during the workshop, participants are called to walk through Athens and note those experiences of walking through the city that are so familiar to them that they are usually not consciously registered: passing by an open window and listening to the TV coming from inside, trying to balance, when stepping on a pavement slab that is broken or unstable or slippery from the rain, passing by a metal gate and stroking it with your hand so that it makes a sound that marks the rhythm of your walk, passing by a store window and using it as a mirror. The task is to focus on the details of walking and specifically on those that make the city seem most familiar – to realize them and write them down on a piece of paper. The exercise is mainly to verbalize those sensations and experiences, rather than showing a certain image by taking a photograph. However, in some cases where words could prove inadequate, photographs can take their place.

At a second stage, the Map of Walking Poetics suggests a system of orientation, where those perceptions can be categorized according to certain coordinates: sensual (the I), architectural (the city), fauna and flora (the other). Should the workshop take place in the exhibition’s actual space, the “Map of Walking Poetics” could be made in a space that is open to the public. In this case the audience could bare witness to the ever-growing map of familiar thoughts and experiences that that take place in a space outside that of the exhibition, namely the city.

Marialena Marouda