With walking, it is the impulse derived from the creative process, so palpable I can almost touch it, that draws my attention away from daily challenge and frees my mind to simply be. Turning an anatomical gaze upon the walks and the walking; connecting the process of walking art with a visual expression of my creative journey, I began using traditional rope-making techniques and gathering small quantities of the dominant plant species in each walk I carried out. This yielded some interesting observations in the resulting small scale studies with the gathering and weaving creating a deeper understanding of place and the conversations that ensued amongst participants of the walks, tethering me to a moment frozen in time; a memory waiting to be collected another day.
I discovered deep mapping when I read a book by Tim Ingold. ‘Lines’ draws on multiple disciplines and examines what a range of creative outlets have in common. Ingold argues that everyone and everything is interconnected through the archaeology of the line. As I place each foot down, one in front of the other on walk after walk, I consider this. Process Art lends itself towards the use of non-traditional materials as well as non-traditional visual and sensory experiences. Much like any other form of storytelling, these handmade ropes and knots encapsulate the theatrics, the embellishing and the improvisation of any truly interesting tale.
Reading on, Ingold suggests that, ‘drawing a line on a sketch map is much like telling a story’ and that, ‘the storyline goes along, as does the line on the map.’ (Ingold 2016: 92). This concept of ongoing activity is a mechanism to enable people, myself included, to develop a different set of constructs by which to live: a permission slip to be still; to connect and reconnect with a world outside of themselves.
Using this as a line of enquiry to reflect on my own landscapes, gave rise to a map. Looking for that elusive external source that will give us an answer to our woes is common practice. But what if we could fix ourselves by changing our responses; responding instead of reacting to life’s challenges? My blank OS Explorer map would become a visual representation of all that has been and all that is still to come. A journey of my own making and open to interpretation. I liked the symmetry between the processes of deep mapping and an actual map that is there to assist process: walk, think, feel, be. Less restrictive. Less prescriptive. More value; more depth.
In leaving the details and the visual clutter off the map, I left the narrative open for each of us to write our own story. To explore our highways and byways with an incredible opportunity to leave judgement at the door, to slow down, to think and to just be who we want and need to be. Happy trails to us all!
Ingold. T (2016) Lines. 2nd ed. Oxon: Routledge Classics, p.92
Men Walking, 2017. Lar MacGregor
Bowline on a Bight Elymus repens Couch Grass rescue knot. Lar MacGregor
Figure of Eight Cytisus scoparius Wild Broom rescue knot, Lar MacGregor
NZ2464. Truckers Hitch Carrier Bag FOR LIFE rescue knot. Lar MacGregor
Buntline Hitch Betula pendula rescue knot in Silver Birch. Lar MacGregor
Wayfaring Map Detail. Lar MacGregor
Wayfaring Map Legend. Lar MacGregor
Wayfaring Explorer Map. Lar MacGregor