Three Artist Walks / Tours [2005-2009]

My earlier psychogeography and site-specific work used humour with slightly audacious claims about what people might be seeing in front of them. The intention was serious; to question surrounds, to renew space - especially for the exhausted.

 

Polyfaith [2005]

 

Polyfaith was a commissioned by Stills Gallery, Edinburgh. There was a bus tour, a publication, website and talks. This was a project that used the city of Edinburgh for multiple pilgrimages within a pseudo-interfaith narrative that featured a “dead physics teacher called Erica Tetralix”

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I made a fairly convincing case that she had been a friend of mine and we were going to trace her life around the city.
All through a kind of hidden Edinburgh we travelled, traipsing around parts of the city with curious names, strange locations and the occasional moving story. 



 

However, spoiler alert: At the end of the tour, it is revealed to the audience that her burial site (at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens) might not be what I claim it to be. Even though the audience had ‘bought’ most of the narrative thus far, which actually surprised me, I reveal that Erica Tetralix is a shrub in the gardens. Her Latin name tag is just a marker for the plant.
There has been no interfaith tour. On the bus tour, someone claimed they knew her and didn’t know she had died.

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Edinburgh’s Select Avocados [2008]  
launch microsite



 

Promoted by Edinburgh Art Festival (and was the opening event) in 2008, this was a tour of Edinburgh’s Advocate’s Close, which is situated off the city’s Royal Mile. I postulated there was an art movement called “The Avocados” and that this collective had made several works hidden within the cracks of buildings in the close. If you were a lexicographer it was easy to spot that “Select Avocados” was an anagram of “Advocates Close” - something I often did in my work at the time. 



 

When the site when online after the live event I had a few people contacting me saying that the site had the occasional inaccuracy. They were usually aghast when I told them the whole thing was a fabrication and when they paid attention, they could see nothing is what it seemed.  I still couldn’t believe my wild claims were being taken seriously and couldn’t work out if it was my personality or the so-called ‘artworks’ that were the persuading factor. Perhaps patronage and context – and trust in organisations was swaying people.

Surreal Steyning [2009]  launch microsite *

In 2009 I was awarded an Arts Council England Grant via a festival in Sussex in 2009. 

I marketed a tour as simply being an ‘alternative’ tour of a Sussex Village. Steyning is a pretty, conservative village in East Sussex and I now saw my role to bring these kind of playful, perceptual workshops to a place which wasn’t used to contemporary or conceptual art.

It is safe to say it split the audience. A had a couple of walk-outs that hadn’t happened in Edinburgh. They saw the word history and they wanted verifiable facts, not that the old Tudor school building and the boy band Take That’s logo from the 1990s had uncomfortable similarities. A few were quite grumpy with my ‘alternative’ reading of the village, their village. However, those that stayed began to enjoy this very different tour and most stayed to enjoy a picnic at the end.


Other walks: See Autopaths and Stations of The Lost

* microsite audiofiles currently missing

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