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Walking without Footprints, Bratislava,
11 December 2015 – 28 February 2016

Curators: Maja and Reuben Fowkes

Participating artists: Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan, Fokus Grupa (Iva Kovač / Elvis Krstulović), Oto Hudec, Michal Kindernay, Cecylia Malik, Davor Sanvincenti

To walk into the landscape today is to do so in awareness of the tragic record of anthropogenic transformation of the natural world. Taking care where we tread, avoiding disrupting the undisturbed, we cannot help anticipating the sound of the chainsaw, the peel of gunshot and the eerie silence that marks the absence of birds, reminding us that civilisation has changed nature forever. The carefree jaunts of the urban flaneur seem out of place in a time of anthropocene anxiety, but also strangely discordant is the recurring desire to map out the terrain, marking individual presence on the blank canvas of the land, so that even ephemeral traces of footsteps in the snow now provoke unease.

A world away from the ecological indifference of the technocratic intellect and the remnants of enlightenment ethics of domination over nature, the artistic projects in this exhibition suggest that another way of walking is possible. Disposing of the Cartesian divide between mind and body, the walker as thinker rediscovers herself as inseparable from nature in a humble act of self-measurement against the earth.

Choosing to walk not ride may also constitute an act of resistance to the acceleration and disembodied practices of twenty-four-seven touch-screen culture, while the resilient social formation of the march asserts the relevance of walking as protest. Walking in the wilderness still offers a space of freedom, creativity, and if you dispense with the safety net of GPS mapping, anonymity in a world of on and offline surveillance. At the same time, wilderness no longer appears as a geographically delineated territory, but as a fluid condition and open possibility that also flourishes in the margins of the post-industrial city. To walk with no footprint offers momentary relief from the unavoidable strain of living unsustainably in an age of ecological crisis.


Oto Hudec, Nor Tortoise nor Blade of Grass, 2014



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