Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Open City is an interdisciplinary project involving artists Andrew Brown and Katie Doubleday, working in collaboration with other artists and writers including art-writer Emma Cocker. It is an investigation-led project that attempts to draw attention to how behaviour in the public realm is organized and controlled – and to what effect – whilst simultaneously exploring how such ‘rules’ or even habits might be negotiated differently through performance-based interventions.

Pay attention to the footnotes - those inconspicuous markers that linger at the edges of the text and in the crevices between words - for they are the unstoppable protagonists of meandering digression and of drifting thought. Analogous to your wandering footsteps, they are able to break the opacity of the text’s taut skin, rupture its continuous surface with their pauses or interjections; doubts or deviations; fragments; broken narratives, tangents and about-turns. Footnotes signal dead-ends and dark alleys in a text’s construction; the well-trodden districts and more marginal paths. They are the double-step, sub-text to any story: a nest of Russian dolls. Like the secret diary, footnotes attest to the relational and social practice of writing itself: to the pleasurable exchanges and late nights lost to darkened corners; to unexpected discoveries and chance encounters; to the irrevocable quarrels and clandestine love affairs with another’s thoughts. The footnotes narrate the intellectual journey of the text; reveal the hidden archaeology of its argument, expose the genealogy of its latent provenance. They speak both of a text’s past and of its potential future: they are its lost itinerary that can be literarily followed. They are to be retraced like Gretel's pebbles back through the text.

1. Erving Goffman writes about the performativity of ‘everyday life’ and of the nature of human behaviour in public places. He states that, "the behaviour of individual while in a situation is guided by social values and norms concerning involvement. These rulings apply to the intensity of his involvements, their distribution between main and side activities, and importantly, their tendency to bring him into an engagement with all, some or non present," Goffman, 'Behaviour in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings', (The Free Press, USA, 1963), p.193. See also Erving Goffman, 'The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life' (New York: Doubleday, 1959). Reflect on the nature of your own behaviour in the public realm. Invert its routine patterns and repeated gestures.
2. Fairytales are rife with stories of the misfortunes that befall the wanderer who meanders from the designated path. Remember the fate of Red Riding Hood. Vladamir Propp’s, 'Morphology of the Folktale', (Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1968) might be a good place to start in order to explore the role of straying from a moral path in relation to folklore. In a tangential twist, it is interesting to note how a red cloaked individual appears in the film 'Don’t Look Now' (1973, dir. Nicolas Roeg), who is not so much misled as leads the central male character astray and into dark and dangerous territories. The artist Jill Magid also appears in a red coat in her project Evidence Locker ( in which she wanders the city under the gaze of CCTV. In these two examples and innumerable others, the city has perhaps replaced the notion of the forest in our collective consciousness as the place for getting lost. Wear something red and move through the spaces of the city as though you were a beacon or some kind of siren that others might follow.
3. Aimless wandering is a term that emerges and is used in relation to a diverse range of pedestrian practices, where it often describes a form of ‘drift’ or purposeless action, distinguishable from the habitual form of motivated walking typically encouraged within a city space. It is a practice that can be seen at play within the genre of picaresque literature; in the flaneur’s disinterested stroll; in the Surrealists practice of errance, and later as a key tactic deployed by the Situationists. There are examples which pre-date established genres of wandering. Henry David Thoreau notes a tradition of ‘sauntering’ emerging in the Middle Ages where individuals pretended to be undertaking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land but were instead, "mere idlers and vagabonds". See Henry David Thoreau, (1817 – 1862), 'Walking', (Harper Collins, 1994), p.2. Paul Griffiths discusses the ‘Meanings of Nightwalking in Early Modern England’, The Seventeenth Century Vol.13, No.2 (Autumn 1998). The drifting or episodic, open-ended narrative at play in the genre of the picaresque and neo-picaresque novel relies on a "triad of interconnected elements: the ambiguous figure of the picaro, the temporal and spatial framework of the road and the capricious unpredictability of chance", Ilana Shiloh, 'Paul Auster and the Postmodern Quest', (Peter Lang Press, 2002), p.2. For notes on the picaresque tradition see Gustavo Pellon and Julio Rodriguez-Luis, (eds.) 'Upstarts, wanderers or swindlers: anatomy of the picaro', (Rodopi Publishing, 1986); Claudio Guillen, 'The anatomies of roguery: The origins and the nature of picaresque literature' (Garland Publishing, 1987), or Stuart Miller, 'The picaresque novel', (Cleveland, 1967). For further accounts of flanerie see Walter Benjamin, 'The Arcades Project', (1927), trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999); Keith Tester, (ed.), 'The Flaneur', (Routledge, London and New York, 1994); and Chris Jenks, ‘Watching your step: the history and practice of the flaneur’, in Chris Jenks, (ed.), 'Visual Culture'. (Routledge, London, 1995); Michael Sheringham, 'Parisian Fields', (Reaktion,1996). The practice of errance was strategically adopted in 1924 when André Breton, Louis Aragon, Max Morise and Roger Vitrac set off on foot from Blois (a town chosen randomly) and wandered haphazardly for several days. This particular example may however have been preceded by 'Le Voyage Magique' of 1923, in which the same four protagonists undertook a series of journeys to places picked at random. See Alastair Brotchie and Mel Gooding (eds.), 'A Book of Surrealist Games', (Shambhala Redstone Editions, Boston and London, 1995), p.162. See primary accounts of errance in André Breton’s semi-autobiographic prose romance, 'Nadja', (1928), trans. Richard Howard, (London: Penguin Books, 1999); in Louis Aragon’s 'Paris Peasant', (1926) trans. Simon Watson Taylor, (Boston: Exact Change, 1994); or in Philippe Soupault’s 'Last Nights of Paris', (1928) trans. William Carlos Williams, (Full Court Press, Cambridge, 1992). The practice of Surrealist errance has also been returned to and discussed by many historians, notably by Rosalind Krauss in connection to photography’s relationship to Surrealism, for example in ‘Nightwalkers’, 'Art Journal', Vol. 41, No. 1 Photography and the Scholar/critic (Spring 1981), pp.33-38. Ian Walker also provides an excellent account in 'City gorged with dreams: Surrealism and documentary photography' in interwar Paris, (Manchester, 2002); Susan Laxton in 'Paris as gameboard, Man Ray’s Atgets', (Columbia University, New York, 2002). See Guy Debord’s essay 'Theory of the Dérive' for an account of wandering in relation to the Situationists, which can be accessed in the library at and was first published in the Belgian surrealist journal Les Lèvres Nues #9 (November 1956) along with accounts of two dérives. See also Simon Ford, 'The Situationist International: A User’s Guide', (Black Dog Publishing, 2005); Guy Debord, ‘Introduction to a critique of modern geography’ in 'Situationist International Anthology', ed. & trans. Ken Knabb (Berkely, California, Bureau of Public Secrets,1981); Thomas F. McDonough, ‘Situationist space’, 'October' Vol. 67 (Winter, 1994), and Anthony Vidler, ‘Terres Inconnues: Cartographies of a Landscape to be Invented’, 'October' 115, (Winter 2006), pp.13-30. In terms of overviews of an historical or critical context for the act of wandering, Rebecca Solnit’s recent texts, 'Field Guide to Getting Lost', (Canongate Books, 2006) and' Wanderlust: a Short History of Walking', (Verso, 2006), attempt to locate an historical context, and a critical or resistant function for the act of errant footfall. So too a recent introduction to 'Psychogeography', (Pocket Essentials, 2006) by Merlin Coverley (also author of London Writing) provides an accessible overview. A more popular and contemporary interpretation of aimless wandering might be seen as operational within the recent phenomenon of the Parisian originating practice of parkour (free running) where the architecture of the city becomes an assault course upon which the traceur (a participant of parkour) attempts to perform, guided in part by the notion of ‘escape’ and unrestricted by conventional modes of navigation. Practice parkour in quiet moments. Become aimless in your habitual navigations. Allow yourself to wander. Or follow George Perec's example and 'find a route that would cross [your city] from one side to the other taking only streets beginning with the letter C', See Georges Perec, 'Species of Places and Other Pieces', (1974) ed. and trans. John Sturrock, (Penguin Books, 1997), p.63. He goes on to describe a full list of exercises which might be usefully adopted such as imagining a route that would enable you take all the buses possible across the city, or reconsidering the Surrealist game of 'Embellishment of the City'; or 'prepare a journey that would enable you to visit or pass through all the places that are 314.60 kilometers from your house', p.85.
4. ‘Open city’ is positioned as both an instruction that the city open up; and as a descriptive term for the desirable state of openness encouraged by the act of wandering. The spell ‘Open City! Open Sesame, borrows of course "Open, O' Simsim" (commonly written as "Open Sesame" in English), from the tale of 'Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves', part of 'The Book of One Thousand and One Nights' (Arabian Nights). Remember it as a mantra and feel the shape of its letters under your breath whilst on the bus or as you brush up close against other city dwellers. Merlin Coverley discusses the connections between the occult and pyschogeography, in his introduction to 'Psychogeography' (2006), not least in relation to the writing of Arthur Machen in whose early gothic works the city was described as a site of supernatural occurrences; "a sense of the eternal mysteries, the eternal beauty hidden the crust of common and commonplace things; hidden and yet burning and glowing continually if you dare to look with purged eyes", Arthur Machen, 'The London Adventure or the Art of Wandering', p.141, cited in Coverley, 2006, p.48. Coverley goes on to discuss how psychogeography has become entangled amongst ‘new age’ ideas that seem far removed from Guy Debord’s initial definition and intent. See notes on ‘Alfred Watkins and the Theory of Ley Lines’, in Coverley, 2006, pp.51-54. Take a pencil and draw a straight line across a map of your city. Follow its graphite path without deviation. 'Open City' is also an ongoing project developed by Simone Kenyon, Katie Doubleday, and Andrew Brown exploring how we live in, journey through and experience the human and built environment. Intervening in the space between the conscious and the habitual; the planned and the impromptu, the solitary and the mass, audiences are invited to readdress their position within their city and enter a space where new encounters can take place. Artists Kenyon, Doubleday, Brown have been working with members of the public over the course of the year creating discreet interventions within the public realm. Over the course of the Nott Dance festival in Autumn 2007 the artists will be inviting audiences to contribute to Open City by participating in mass choreographed events, creating a series of invisible performances throughout the city which are captured on camera and beamed back live to festival venues. Everyday movement and gestures become part of a larger choreography where the line between performer and audience are blurred and everyone present becomes included in the work. Postcards will be handed out following Nott Dance performances with instructions for audience members to carry out at points over the festival; with texts commissioned by writer Emma Cocker. Further details of activities and ongoing documentation of the project can be found at
5. Recollect games of stillness from your childhood and redeploy them within the public spaces of the city: Dead Lions, Sardines, Statues. Extend this to include other games of disappearance such Hide and Seek, or ones that demand a particular mode of navigation such as not treading on the ground or walking backwards. Games of stillness and patience might be understood as forming part of Roger Caillois’ category of mimicry or simulation in 'Man, Play and Games', 1958, trans. Meyer Barash, (University of Illinois Press, 2001). Like the insect whose frozen gestures mimic the twig or corpse, so too such practices of wilful stillness might be linked with a form of mimesis or role-play. Alternatively they emerge as a consequence of particular rules or conditions which are at odds with ‘everyday’ life but which govern the players within the game. The act of wandering has inherently been linked to the use of play, games and the tactical application of ludic strategies, not least within Surrealism and also by the Situationists, where the city has often been likened to a game-board upon which to play. See Alastair Brotchie and Mel Gooding (eds.), 'A Book of Surrealist Games', 1995, for a comprehensive account of a range of Surrealist games, strategies and procedures including the game, ‘Embellishment of the City’. See Susan Laxton, ‘Paris as Gameboard’, 'Man Ray’s Atgets', (New York: Columbia University, 2002); and her text ‘The Guarantor of Chance: Surrealism’s Ludic Practices’, published in the Papers of Surrealism, Issue 1, (Winter 2003) for accounts of the relationship between games and Surrealism. For broader accounts of the cultural significance of games and play see Roger Caillois, 'Man, Play and Games', (1958) trans. Meyer Barash, (University of Illinois Press, 2001); Johan Huizinga, 'Homo Ludens', (New York: Roy Publishers, 1950). Artists such as Jiri Kovanda appear to exploit these tension between stillness, blockage and unexpected movement, in his series of performances where he spontaneously broke free into a run or purposefully bumped into a pedestrian travelling in the opposite direction along the pavement.
6. The nature of unresolved waiting, when an end or destination remains or is kept at a distance might be seen in the gesture of purposelessly queuing. Artist, Roman Ondák stages such a gesture his work, 'Good Feelings in Good Times' (2003). Shown first outside the Kölnischer Kunstverein in 2003 and adapted for Frieze Art Fair in London, it consists of an orderly line of about six people - professional actors who nonchalantly feign spontaneously assembling and dispersing queues according to the artist's instructions. The artist has instructed that the volunteers/professional actors are dressed in context with their immediate environment and may handle relevant personal items such as mobile phones, portable music players and newspapers. “They have to look as natural as possible, and act as if they are really queuing somewhere, waiting for something to happen. They are not allowed to divulge any information about the performance, so they need to have been briefed/instructed on that beforehand” (artist questionnaire received by Tate November 24, 2004). The work can be displayed in variable locations that make it possible to queue. Echo this gesture. Stop still in your tracks and point towards the distance, or place your bags down in any open space and wait as though for some imaginary ride.
7. Dynamic stillness is a term used in yogic practices to signal the nature of the energy within a balance posture. It might also describe the moment of natural pause that takes place in the small gap between inhalation and exhalation, which is also significantly a place of reflection and calmness in yoga.
8. This analogy might conjure the visual imagery of films such as Fritz Lang’s 'Metropolis', (1927), where the city is seen as a vast machine, its inhabitants little more than cogs. A bodily analogy presents the opportunity to extend metaphors relating to disease and pollution in connection to the city. It is a metaphor that echoes perhaps the spatial and systemic models through which theorists Julia Kristeva or Mary Douglas have discussed pollution, the abject and the transgression of borders and boundaries. Descriptions of the city and of wandering are certainly gendered, where the female nightwalker has been traditionally cast as either an unwitting victim of male predatory desires or as a fallen angel, recklessly complicit in the illicit sexual exchanges of the street. However it might be possible to argue that wandering itself can be seen as a particularly feminine mode of investigation analogous to a mode of speaking. I am thinking about this in relation to a quote by Luce Irigaray (which seems to invert Michel de Certeau’s argument (discussed later) and uses the metaphor of wandering to describe a form of ‘speech act’) when she says, "Contradictory words seem a little crazy to the logic of reason, and inaudible to him who listens with ready-made grids, a code prepared in advance. In her statements – at least when she dares to speak out – woman retouches herself constantly. She just barely separates from herself some chatter, an exclamation, a half-secret, a sentence left in suspense – When she returns to it, it is only to set out again from another point of pleasure or pain. One must listen to her differently in order to hear the ‘other meaning’ which is constantly in the process of weaving itself, at the same time ceaselessly embracing words and yet casting them off to avoid becoming fixed, immobilized … (Her statements) are never identical to what she means … Their distinguishing feature is one of contiguity. They touch (upon). And when they wander too far from this nearness, she stops and begins again from ‘zero’." See Luce Irigaray, ‘This Sex which is Not One’, in Elaine Marks and Isabella de Courtivron (eds.), 'New French Feminisms' (Harvester, 1980) p.101. For wider cultural accounts of a female form of flanerie or accounts of the flaneuse see Susan Buck-Morss, ‘The Flaneur, the Sandwichman and the Whore: The Politics of Loitering’, 'New German Critique', No. 39, Second Special Issue on Walter Benjamin (Autumn, 1986); Janet Wolf, ‘The Invisible flaneuse: women and the literature of modernity’, 'Theory, Culture and Society', II-III, 1985, pp.37-46; Alex Hughes, ‘The City and the female autograph’ in Michael Sheringham (ed) 'Parisian Fields', pp.115-132; and Anke Gleber, The Art of Taking a Walk, (Princeton University Press, 1999), especially Part Four: ‘Female Flanerie’, pp.171-213. The use of a bodily metaphor might also present a vehicle through which to explore notions of intimacy or the brokering of a relationship within a space; or even offer a way of accounting for the implicit sexual register through which the city’s crevices and dark corners might be described. Equally there might be scope for exploring space/maps in relation to skin. Think of the pavement as though it were skin and consider whether your footsteps would leave indelible bruising or be enjoyed as the smooth caress. Take renewed care of your city and adopt a lighter tread.
9. Stasis signals 1.the state of equilibrium or inactivity caused by opposing equal forces.2.Pathology. stagnation in the flow of any of the fluids of the body, as of the blood in an inflamed area or the intestinal contents proximal to an obstruction. See
10. Jan Verwoert talks about the notion of "making a scene" as a ‘paradigmatic way to bring about crisis’ in 'Bas Jan Ader: In Search of the Miraculous', (London: Afterall Publishing, 2006), p.25. He goes on to argue that "Following the logic of the crisis, the practice of getting yourself into a situation is about creating a moment of necessity in a situation of contingency", p.28. Make a scene.
11. Ganzfeld is a type of partial sensory deprivation, in which a person is exposed to unpatterned visual and auditory stimulation. As used in parapsychological research, the ganzfeld technique typically consists of fixing translucent hemispheres over the eyes of a reclining person while a red light is shone upon the face, and masking noises, such as the sound of waves or white noise, are presented via headphones. The ganzfeld is often used in extrasensory perception studies to encourage internally-produced imagery and thoughts. See The connection to pilots experiencing such a thing in flight was remarked upon by Joanne Lee, in her paper and essay for the exhibition Frame (2000) at Site Gallery, Sheffield. See
12. Wandering also proposes to subvert the endorsed and enforced models of visibility encouraged by the official system by asserting the cultural value of getting lost or of disappearing from view. Navigational aids are inverted and set to a different use: maps are misused as a means for determined disorientation or confusion; guidebooks become tools for de-familiarisation and misdirection as much as for finding one’s way. Some artists deploy the same contemporary surveillance or mapping technologies that have attempted to control and legislate the public realm, subverting their function in the production of anti-guides or through acts of delinquency or play which overwrite or weave a more idiosyncratic and individual experience over the fabric of the authorized map. See for example, Adele Prince’s project 'Meander Map' (2006), or Layla Curtis’s project 'Polar Wandering' (2006) both of which make use of personal GPS tracking devices. Invert or reverse the instructions of your satellite navigation for one hour a day; or set it to the logic of a different city.
13. Michel de Certeau describes a form of "opaque and blind mobility characteristic of the bustling city", in 'The Practice of Everyday Life', trans. Steve Rendall, (University of California, 1984), p.93. Some artists in fact favour forms of psychological or physical blindness - wandering with one’s eyes closed or blindfolded (Jill Magid); following another or being (mis)led (Sophie Calle); retracing the steps of an already failed expedition (Tacita Dean); borrowing routes, instructions or itineraries from others (Heather and Ivan Morison); or using obsolete guides as tools of misdirection (Lucy Harrison). Others propose more intense forms of looking. Georges Perec instructs us to 'Observe the street from time to time, with some concern for system perhaps ... Note down what you can see. Anything worthy of note going on. Do you know how to see what's worthy of note? is there anything that strikes you? Nothing strikes you. You don't know how to see. You must set about it more slowly, almost stupidly. Force yourself to write down what is of no interest, what is most obvious, most common, most colourless'. See Georges Perec, 'Species of Places and Other Pieces', (1974) ed. and trans. John Sturrock, (Penguin Books, 1997), p.50. Jiri Kovanda uses the gaze effectively in a piece where he turns around on an escalator to in fact, meet a stranger's eye.
14. Footnotes invariably lead to further footnotes to further footnotes. This text already draws explicitly on other writing that has its own footnotes that might also be followed. See for further links. The essay, 'The Art of Misdirection' is published online at, and examines the resurgence of interest in the act of wandering within contemporary art practice. The essay 'Desiring to be Led Astray' will be published in the journal of the Centre for Surrealism and its Legacies, in the Autumn of 2007. The text 'Desiring to be Led Astray' in particular explores the critical deployment of following as a tactical legacy of Surrealist errance, and refers to the connections between Sophie Calle’s project 'Suite Venitienne' and Andre Bretons 'Nadja', and as such has been informed by Jean Baudrillard’s text, ‘Please Follow Me’ in Sophie Calle, ‘Suite Venitienne’, trans Dany Barash and Danny Hatfield, (Bay Press, Seattle. 1988).
15. In ‘Please Follow Me’ Jean Baudrillard presents a compelling essay on the process of seduction and disappearance implicit in the act of following another, making an analogy to the notion of possession. The text appears to echo the sentiment of Roger Caillois’ essays on mimicry, and in the essay ‘Desiring to be Led Astray’ I make more explicit connections to Caillois’ analysis suggesting that the act of following can be understand as a form of psychological deliquescence or formlessness, a collapse of the boundaries of form. The sense of reciprocal ‘possession’ is certainly implied in Baudrillard’s writing, when he writes "shadowing implies this surprise, the possibility of reversal is necessary to it, one must follow in order to be followed, photograph in order to be photographed, wear a mask in order to be unmasked, appear in order to disappear," Baudrillard, 1988, p.81. The rhythm and play of this text are also evoked in Jacques Derrida’s, 'Spectres of Marx' (1994), where he speaks also of the inevitable reciprocity of possession: “Is not to possess a spectre to be possessed by it, possessed period? To capture it, is that not to be captivated by it?”. This is a phrase cited by Jan Verwoert in relation to his assertion that to appropriate a temporal occurrence or ‘event’ is different to the appropriation of a ‘dead object’, for here the ‘borrowed’ thing it is invoked rather than possessed. See Jan Verwoert, 'Apropos Appropriation, Why stealing Images Today feels Different Today', Tate Triennial 2006, Tom McDonough also reflects on the "libidinal tangle in which pursuer and pursued los(e) their clear polarities" when drawing connections between Vito Acconci’s 'Following Piece' (1969) and Edgar Allen Poe’s 'The Man of the Crowd', in Tom McDonough, 2002, p.107. McDonough suggests that in the act of mirroring, the two become indistinguishable, and citing Michel Butor asserts that they are: ‘at bottom identical. The second places his steps in the footprints of the first who remains unaware of him, although the former is without knowing it the initiator, the guide of the second’, Michel Butor, 'Histoire extraordinaire: Essai sur un rêve de Baudelaire' (Paris: Gallimard, 1961) p.33 cited in Tom McDonough, 2002, p.106. Craig Douglas Dworkin suggests that Acconci’s following must still operate in relation to the role of desire for ‘the two figures … have meaning (follower and followed) only in relation to each other’ in Dworkin, 'Fugitive Signs', 'October' Vol.95 (Winter 2001), p.108, cited in McDonough, 2002, p.110. This analysis would also seem to draw a connection to the earlier tale of 'William Wilson' (1839) Edgar Allan Poe’s short story where in this case the central character is plagued by the presence of a double.
16. ‘Noon day ghosts’ is a term used by Roger Caillois (context not known at present), cited by Denis Hollier, in ‘Surrealist Precipitates: Shadows Don't Cast Shadows’, 'October' Vol. 69 (Summer, 1994). The phrase "shadows don’t cast shadows" in the postcard text is borrowed also from Hollier’s title. Hollier disrupts the reading of the cast shadow as “the very exemplar of a non-displaceable sign: rigorously contemporary with the object it doubles, it is simultaneous, non-detachable” with a form of shadowing that emerges in certain photographic and surrealist representations where the shadow appears as a separate, disembodied manifestation. See Hollier, 1994, p.114, He describes the moment as one of both liberation and horror as the "cast shadow gains iconic autonomy; it is separated and liberated from the object that causes it’, and ‘enters the realm of ambiguity and survives its cause," Hollier, 1994, p.118. The notion of the shadowy ‘third thing’ that haunts or inhabits another, recalls Guy de Maupassant’s, 'L’Horla', (1887), a tale which describes the haunting and subsequent descent into madness of its central character, who experiences a feeling of possession: ‘I am lost. Somebody possesses my soul and governs it. Somebody orders all my actions, all my movements, all my thoughts. I am no longer anything in myself, nothing except an enslaved and terrified spectator of all the things I do’. Footnotes are perhaps the shadowy itinerary of the text. Imagine if they were to break free; lose their syncronicity; assume autonomy. For Rosalind Krauss the gesture of copying, or doubling performs a destructive blow, which "produces the formal rhythm of spacing- the two-step that banishes the unitary condition of the moment, that creates within the moment an experience of fission …The double is the simulacrum, the second, the representative of the original. It comes after the first, and in this following, it can only exist as a figure, or image. But in being seen in conjunction with the original, the double destroys the pure singularity of the first". See Rosalind Krauss, ‘The photographic conditions of Surrealism’, 'October', Vol.19 (Winter, 1981), p.25. Inhabit only those spaces where your shadow vanishes from sight- the fullest sun or darkest corners – in order to experience how it feels to be without your lifelong double.
17. Follow in the footsteps of other followers. Following is a tactic used in a range of practices, from Surrealism onwards. Whilst many accounts of wandering have looked to the ‘man in the crowd’ or flaneur as a precursor, the act of following another uses the protagonist of Poe’s tale (the follower and not the person followed) as the origin of their critical lineage. In terms of key examples of practice see Vito Acconci’s, 'Following Piece' (1969); Tacita Dean’s, 'Disappearance at Sea I and II' (1996 and 1997) and 'Teignmouth Electron' (1999) where she initiates a filmic following in the footsteps of amateur yachtsman Donald Crowhurst’s fated sea journey. The work could also be viewed as ‘following’ on from Bas Jan Ader’s 'In Search of the Miraculous' (1975), in which the artist attempted a solo crossing of the Atlantic in a small sailing boat, which ended in his ‘disappearance at sea’ must like that of Crowhurst. Jan Verwoert in 'In Search of the Miraculous', (Afterall, 2006) notes how a copy of the book 'The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst' by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall, was reputed to have been found in Ader’s locker, and also highlights a further connection to Arthur Craven, a figure celebrated within Surrealist circles, who was last seen in 1920 heading for the Gulf of Mexico in a small vessel. See also Heather and Ivan Morison’s, 'Chinese Arboretum' (2003/4) where they follow the guidance of tree fanatics in search of rare specimens; or Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie's 'A Hypertext Journal' which retraces the steps of Johnson and Boswell's eighteenth-century tour of Scotland. The retracing of another’s steps or appropriation of an existing route as a guide or ‘found set of instructions’, can be seen as a way to create the conditions for detour or depaysément where the journey becomes less about tracking the original telos as about getting lost and abandoning ownership of one’s direction. Tom McDonough notes how the term ‘depaysément’ is often found in early Situationist writings on the dérive, where he suggests, it means ‘taken out of one’s element’ or ‘misled’. See Thomas F. McDonough, ‘Situationist space’, October Vol. 67 (Winter, 1994), p.73. The idea of wilfully inhabiting another’s ‘reality’ can also be seen at play within the practice of automatic writing such as in André Breton and Paul Eluard’s 'The Immaculate Conception', (1930), where "instead of assuming a passive or ‘receptive’ frame of mind, one can with practice assume an active mental state not one’s own. Given this mental set - for instance, that of a delirious mental 'illness' – one attempts to write from within it." See Brotchie and Gooding, 1995, p.22. Adopt a character and play out their life for the remainder of the day.
18. The language of this section echoes philosopher Roger Caillois' analysis of animal mimicry, when he talks about the insect yielding to the call of space as though from a form of psychosis. Roger Caillois presents an account of various contemporary theoretical explanations for animal mimicry and a host of examples from the natural world, before presenting a case against the idea of mimesis as an adaptive method of survival. See Roger Caillois, ‘Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia’, trans. John Shepley, 'October', Vol.31, (Winter, 1984), p.30. Originally published in Minotaure, Vol.7, 1935. There is perhaps an interesting connection to Frederick Jameson’s analysis of the schizophrenic moment arising through the postmodern condition of mimesis inherent in the act of appropriation, which results in a collapsing, not of space, but of time, that prevents the individual from being able to ‘make sense’ of themselves in the temporal continuum, where order or organisation is lost in favour of a perpetual present. In a footnote to 'Man, Play and Games', Caillois states that his earlier study “treats the problem with a perspective that today seems fantastic to me. Indeed I no longer view mimetism as a disturbance of space perception and a tendency to return to the inanimate, but rather, as herein proposed, as the insect equivalent to games of simulation”. See, Roger Caillois, 'Man, Play and Games', (1958) 2001, pp.177-8. However, it is interesting that the "disturbance of space perception" persists in the form of games within other categories of play that demonstrate the desire for the sense of psychological deliquescence and loss of self or alternatively a disruption of a moral order. This ‘promise’ of disruption is specifically at play in the processes of both mimicry and ilinx, where both practices emerge from a form of carnivalesque or ritualism. In all forms of play there is also the risk of ‘corruption’ that might threaten to blur the boundaries between the game and ‘real life’ and return play to its chaotic and primal origins. The text is also informed by Georges Bataille notion of formlessness, for the collapse of self or deliquescence is indicative of or echoes the condition of informe or formlessness, an operation that functions to breakdown the boundaries of form and effect classificatory slippage. See George Bataille’s original entry for formlessness in ‘Critical Dictionary’ trans. D. Faccini, 'October', Vol. 60 (1992), pp.25-31, or in 'Encyclopedia Acephalica', (Atlas Press, London, 1995), p.51-52. First appeared as 'Dictionnaire Critique' in 1929 and 1930, and constituted a separate section of the magazine, 'Documents'.
19. See Edgar Allen Poe’s 'The Man of the Crowd', 1840. Poe’s tale follows one man’s irrational pursuit of a stranger, of an unknown man, ‘whose physiognomy, glimpsed for a split second, has entranced him” and for whom “curiosity has become a fatal, irresistible passion”. Charles Baudelaire, ‘Le Peintre de la vie moderne’ (1863) in Oeuvres completes, vol.2 (Paris: Louis Conard, 1925), p.61 cited in Tom McDonough, ‘The Crimes of the flaneur’, 2002, p.106.
20. In 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost' (2006) Rebecca Solnit draws from diverse literary and cultural references including Henry David Thoreau’s 'Walden' (1845) and Virginia Woolf’s 'To the Lighthouse' (1927), in order to suggest that the desire to lose oneself is marked by a giving over to or immersion in the present. She argues that “to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of ‘being’ in uncertainty and mystery”. Rebecca Solnit, 'A field guide to getting lost', p.6.
21. This sense of dropping down on the city from above recalls the opening lines of Michel de Certeau’s chapter on 'Spatial Practices', in 'The Practice of Everyday Life', where he describes seeing Manhattan from the 110th floor of the World Trade Center. He goes on to describe the Icarian fall as one might return ‘down below’ where "Escaping the imaginary totalizations produced by the eye, the everyday has a certain strangeness that does not surface, or whose surface is only its upper limit, outlining itself against the visible", Michel de Certeau, 'The Practice of Everyday Life', 1984, p.93. See especially Michel de Certeau’s, 'Part III Spatial Practices', and especially Chapter VII 'Walking in the City'. Climb to the highest point in the city. Retreat to its lowest caves.
22. This articulation of wandering as both a pedestrian and textual activity encourages a specific discussion through the theoretical positions offered by Michel de Certeau who in 'The Practice of Everyday Life' (1984), describes both walking and reading according to a model of enunciation or ‘speech act’; a performative operation through which the individual might appropriate, reuse or even misuse the vocabulary of the authoritative ‘text’ in the construction of highly subjective ‘readings’ or detours. He argues that, “The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language or to the statements uttered. At its most elementary level, it has a triple ‘enunciative’ function: it is a process of appropriation of the topographical system on the part of the pedestrian (just as the speaker appropriates or takes on language); it is a spatial acting-out of the place (just as the speech act is an acoustic acting out of language); and implies relations among differentiated positions”. See Michel de Certeau, p.98. Earlier writers and theorists have also made the connection between the city and a text, and the act of walking and reading. In the late nineteenth century the German flaneur, Ludwig Börne, suggested that, "Paris is to be called an unfolded book, wandering through its streets means reading" in ‘Schilderungen aus Berlin’ in Sämtliche Schriften. Vol. 2. Inge and Peter Rippman (eds.) (Dreieich: Melzer, 1977), p.34 cited in Anke Gleber, 'The Art of taking a Walk', (Princeton University Press, 1999), p.10. Consider your city as a book. Imagine its first line.
23. The relationship between time and space is explored by WJT Mitchell’s when he says, “We cannot experience a spatial form except in time; we cannot talk about a temporal experience without evoking spatial measures. Instead of viewing space and time as antithetical modalities, we ought to treat their relationship as one of complex interactions, interdependence, and interpenetration”. WJT Mitchell, ‘Spatial Form in Literature: Toward a General Theory’, in 'The Language of Images', (The University of Chicago Press, 1980), p.276.
24. Art historian Ian Walker explores a form of cartography based on experience and not on sight in relation to Andre Breton’s Nadja when he says “Sites are not chosen because they are the sites ‘one must see’; rather they are included because of what happened in these places … A private (space) has been created within the public space, occupying the same space, but differently, more intensely”. Ian Walker, in ‘City Gorged with Dreams: Surrealism and documentary photography in interwar Paris’, (Manchester, 2002), p.53. I am interested in how this quote echoes the sentiment of Michel de Certeau’s analysis of the act of walking when he says, “A migrational, or metaphorical, city thus slips into the clear text of the planned and readable city”. Michel de Certeau, 1984, p.93.
25. Michel de Certeau differentiates between the notion of place and space, where the former is determined by the stability and fixity of the map, whilst the latter, “is composed of intersections of mobile elements. It is in a sense actuated by the ensemble of movements deployed within it. Space occurs as the effect produced by the operations that orient it, situate it, temporalize it, and make it function in a polyvalent unity of conflictual programs or contractual proximities … In short, space is a practiced place.” See Michel de Certeau, 1984, p.117. Marc Augé argues that "If a place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-place." See 'Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity', (Verso, 1995), pp. 77-78.
26. For Michel de Certeau, the act of walking is capable of opening up temporal and imaginative gaps in the way that the world is encountered, for operationally it is intrinsically connected to a novelistic or essayistic process of narration and storytelling, of perpetual improvisation and invention that reshapes and redefines an understanding of space through each step taken. Referring to the genre of the picaresque novel, Claudio Guillen, argues that: “There seems to be something novelistic about every work of art which suscitates the sharing of a process rather than the observation of a conclusion … the contact with a novel escapes us when we finish it … the substance of a novel lies only in the gradual experience of it.” 'Anatomies of Roguery', 1987, p.435. Walking is a space of contingency: it constructs a narrative of a place and stories about places are, according to de Certeau, “makeshift things. They are composed with the world’s debris ... where things extra and other (details and excesses coming from elsewhere) insert themselves into the accepted framework, the imposed order …The surface of this order is everywhere punched and torn open by ellipses, drifts, and leaks of meaning: it is a sieve-order”, Michel de Certeau, 1984, p.107. De Certeau suggests that, “walking about and travelling substitute for exits, for going away and coming back, which were formerly made available by a body of legends that places nowadays lack. Physical moving about has the itinerant function of yesterday’s or today’s “superstitions”, See De Certeau, 1984, p.107. This echoes the assertions of Surrealist, Louis Aragon who claimed that, “New myths spring up beneath each step we take. Legend begins where man has lives, where he lives”, in Louis Aragon, 'Paris Peasant', (1926) trans. Simon Watson Taylor, (Boston: Exact Change, 1994), p.11.
27. In Paul Auster’s novel New York Trilogy, in the 'City of Glass', the urban wandering of the character of Stillman traces out cryptic textual inscriptions onto the city’s pavements, which are subsequently ‘read’ by Quinn, a detective who has been following and recording from a distance. See Paul Auster, New York Trilogy, (Faber and Faber, London, 1987), especially pp.58-72. For wider accounts about the constructions of imaginary maps and personal geographies see, Katherine Harmon, 'You are Here: Personal Geographies and other Maps of the Imagination', (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004).
28. The practice of stillness enables a range of affective registers to be tested out within its terms, for stillness is curiously equivocal. It refuses to be encoded, often remaining difficult to read. Within a single performance, the experience of stillness is capable of both controlling and liberating action, of homogenizing behaviour but also functioning as a cover for heterogeneous forms of inhabitation. Stillness could be understood as a form of ‘ambiguous or fluctuating sign’, which for Gilles Deleuze describes something that ‘affects us with joy and sadness at the same time.’ See Gilles Deleuze, ‘Spinoza and the Three “Ethics”’, p.140. The appearance of stillness is ultimately blank or neutral; it is the manner of inhabitation that determines how it is experienced, whether it produces ‘augmentative powers’ or ‘diminutive servitudes’, an affective ‘increase or decrease, growth or decline, joy or sadness.’ Here perhaps, the challenge might be one of attempting to evacuate stillness of its oppressive psychological effects, enabling it to remain a space of possibility, or return to its neutral core.
29. Don't be fooled by appearances. The proverb has been traced back to 'Cato's Morals' (about 1400) in 'Cursor Mundi' (1873). In 1721, it was included in James Kelly's collection of proverbs. It was first attested in the United States in the 1768 'Works of William Smith,' (1803)." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).
30. In each of Bas Jan Ader’s filmed performances of the ‘fall, the artist’s body follows the repeated trajectory of the Sisyphean rock, falling or indeed failing to evade a gravitational pull. In Fall 1, Los Angeles (1970), Ader falls from a chair that is balanced precariously—if only momentarily—on the apex of a house roof; in Fall 2, Amsterdam (1970), he loses his balance whilst cycling along the edge of canal and plunges into the water; in Broken fall (geometric) Westkapelle, Holland (1971), he collapses onto a wooden trestle situated incongruently on a brick-paved country lane, whilst in Broken fall (organic), Amsterdamse Bos, Holland (1971), he dangles flaccidly from a tree branch for over a minute until his body can no longer escape the pull of gravity. Inevitably he loses his grip and falls into the river below.
31. In Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (1952), two characters—Vladimir and Estragon—endlessly wait for someone who never arrives. However, Beckett’s stasis is by no means a passive inaction and, counter-intuitively perhaps, it is possible to identify mobility or resistance within his moments of monotony or boredom, where characters endlessly shift in position between the conditions of resignation and resistance, disenchantment and desire. In Waiting for Godot the characters’ inaction starts out as a product of their enforced waiting; that resentful limbo produced by another’s failure to arrive. Their inability to act (differently) might at first signal a form of resignation, the passive and acquiescent acceptance of the seemingly inevitable. Alternatively, their failure to get up and move on could be read as a defiant gesture of protest or refusal, a tactic for persistently remaining (still) against all odds. At times, Beckett’s characters seem curiously engaged in, rather than strictly resigned to their designated task. As they maintain their endless and immutable waiting game, they appear to be absurdly immersed in its loop of purposeless and relentless anticipation. They tell stories and attempt jokes, sing songs, play games, fight and embrace, curse and converse, sleep, dance, get dressed and then undress again. Here, their standstill slips towards the immobility of pleasurable interlude, a performance willingly suspended. Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (London: Faber and Faber, 1956). Waiting for Godot was originally published in French as En Attendant Godot (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1952).
32. Zygmunt Bauman describes contemporary life as liquid modernity or liquid life, a state of things where all is at once disposable and constantly shifting. He states, “Liquid modern is a society in which the conditions under which its members act change faster than it takes the ways of acting to consolidate into habits and routines […] Liquid life is a precarious life, lived under the conditions of constant uncertainty.” See Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Life, p.1-2.
33.  In ‘Are We There Yet?’ Emma Cocker explores the potential of boredom and anti-climax in relation to artistic practice and the programme at Bloc.See
34. The research cluster Still Unresolved at Nottingham Trent University is concerned with exploring the relationship between uncertainty, irresolution and open-endedness to contemporary art practice. It seeks to examine how artistic practice might be framed as a temporal site of rehearsal and potentiality or alternatively as space for irresolution and doubt; by asserting a critical value for moments of provisionality or contingency within art practice and by placing emphasis on the forms of knowledge and research located at the level of process or the performative within the act of making. Whilst accepting the integral presence of these concerns as an implicit part of making work within most creative practices, in this context they become foregrounded as the focus of research, scholarly activity and practice itself, where they become strategically emphasised or explored at a level of subject, methodology and form.
35. Performed as part of an artistic practice, non-habitual or even habitually discouraged actions such as aimless wandering, standing still, even the (non)event of doing nothing operate as subtle methods through which to protest against increasingly legislated conditions of existence, by proposing alternative modes of behaviour or suggesting flexibility within even the most restricted situations. Artistic practice emerges as a site of investigation for questioning and dismantling the normative social structure through acts of minor rebellion that – whilst predominantly impotent or ineffective – might still remind us that we have some agency and do not always need to wholly and passively acquiesce.
36.  Anthropologist Victor Turner describes the liminal phase of any ritual as: “An interval, however brief, of margin or limen, when the past is momentarily negated, suspended or abrogated, and the future has not yet begun, an instant of pure potentiality when everything, as it were, trembles in the balance”. See Victor Turner, From Ritual to Theatre, p.44. Through temporarily suspending the logic that habitually governs social behaviour, ritual practices permit the exploration of alternative ways of behaving or being. Turner asserts that ‘liminal personae’ are able to: “Elude or slip through the network of classifications that normally locate states and positions in cultural space. Liminal entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, conventions, and ceremonial.’ See Victor Turner, The Ritual Process, p.95.
37. Readiness is the state of being at the cusp of action, mind and body poised, awaiting signal. To be prepared is to anticipate the unforeseen future. Unknown situations, however, demand a speculative approach for you can never be wholly sure what to expect, what skills will be required. Yet, certain practices can be rehearsed daily: using your eyes; creating secret signs; receptiveness; reading maps; judging heights and distances; simple doctoring; stalking; learning to hide; plant identification, differentiating provisions from poisons; imagination; free speech; making fire; building bridges; early rising; whistling; wood whittling; weather wisdom, finding the North.
38. Like the encounter, improvisation is a form of interruption and affirmation. Referring to the writing of Deleuze, O’Sullivan asserts: “The encounter then operates as a rupture in our habitual modes of being and thus in our habitual subjectivities. It produces a cut, a crack. However … the rupturing encounter also contains a moment of affirmation, the affirmation of a new world, in fact a way of seeing and thinking this world differently. This is the creative moment of the encounter that obliges us to think otherwise”. See S.O’Sullivan, Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, For O’Sullivan, certain art practices have the capacity to produce such an affective encounter, and its dual possibilities of rupture and affirmation. Such an encounter does not only disrupt the familiar but also creates an interval into which something else – a new refrain – might emerge.
39. (S)he who hesitates is lost according to the logic of swift and definitive action, seemingly unable or unwilling to make a move. However, to dally or dawdle is to take one’s time (back). Failure to respond instinctively or directly leaves thinking space for imagining unexpected lines of action, for initiating a new trajectory of events rather than simply reacting to or repeating the old. Hesitation waits for the propitious moment; a reflective interval within which to conceive a less predictable or predetermined future. To encourage a delay between stimulus and response disrupts the logic of cause and effect, shifting attention away from the deliberate towards the process of deliberation. Stalling disturbs rhythm and unsettles familiar patterns creating the spacing of a missed beat, an affective gap or vacuum into which something else might be conjured to fill the void.
40. Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning an opportune or fleeting moment whose potential needs to be grasped before it passes. It is a term that is also used by Antonio Negri in Time for Revolution, trans. M. Mandarini, (London: Continuum, 2003). For Negri, ‘Kairòs is the modality of time through which being opens itself, attracted by the void at the limit of time, and it thus decides to fill that void’, Negri, 2003, 152. Here, suggests Negri, ‘the thing, on the edge of being, calls on the act of naming to augment being, in the same way as the name calls the thing to a new singular existence,’ Negri, 2003, 154.
41. In this sense, promiscuity is an acute form of commitment made to the exploration of diverse lines of enquiry, the making of many promises.
42. Félix Guattari describes how the isolation and separation of a ‘partial object’ or ‘fragment of content’ from its habitual context, grants it a certain autonomy, which in turn might become the basis of a new ‘existential refrain’. Guattari, ‘Subjectivities: for Better and for Worse’, pp.198–99. He states that: “A singularity, a rupture in sense, a cut, fragmentation, the detachment of semiotic content … can be at the origin of mutant centers of subjectivation […] of new and unprecedented existential harmonies, polyphonies, rhythms and orchestration. See Guattari, ‘Subjectivities: for Better and for Worse’, p.200. In1961, William Seitz identified assemblage as a specific form of art practice; the juxtaposition and reassembly of arbitrary and everyday ‘preformed natural or manufactured materials, objects, or fragments not intended as art materials’ into fragile and often haphazard arrangements, See William Seitz, The Art of Assemblage, (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1961), p.6. For Seitz, the precarious or contingent creations produced through acts of assemblage often appeared underpinned by ‘the need of certain artists to defy and obliterate accepted categories’; their willed attempt to rupture or challenge existing definitions and systems of classification (Seitz, 1961, p.92.)
43.  In The Order of Things Michel Foucault refers to ‘a certain Chinese Encyclopedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies’. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, (New York: Vintage Books, 1973) p.xv.
44.  Dissent is played out through the force of collective action, thwarting the disempowering and atomizing effects of individualization – the oppressive regime of divide and rule. Group formations align spontaneously into unstructured communities, the logic of shoaling replacing that of the school.
45. Recent theorizations focusing on those models of participation and collectivity specifically produced in and through art-practice have typically challenged the ‘common notion of the community as a coherent and unified social formation’. Miwon Kwon uses the term ‘invented community’ to describe those specific social configurations that are ‘newly constituted and rendered operational through the coordination of the art work itself,’ produced through a form of ‘collective artistic praxis’. The ‘invented community’ produced through practice, she asserts, is both projective and provisional, always: “(P)erforming its own coming together and coming apart as a necessarily  incomplete modelling or working-out of a collective social process. Here, a coherent representation of the group’s identity is always out of grasp.”The time-bound relationships, connections and intensities that bind together diverse individuals within the space-time of each performative intervention produce the experience of a temporary ‘invented community’. The construction or curation of a temporary ‘invented community’ – through the use of a filter or invitation issued by an artist – is evident also within other contemporary art practices that similarly establish unusual – or perhaps even arbitrary – categories of belonging or participation. Witness the reunion of uncredited extras from a 1970s horror movie or those children ‘murdered’ in Pasolini's film Salo, re-assembled almost thirty years after the event to discuss their recollections of the film; or the quest for the class of ‘69 who had once shared an idea that they had sworn to keep secret. A gathering of underage clubbers pose to camera on a night out, bound both by dress code and their awkward inhabitation of the cusp of a budding sexuality. Unlikely affiliation connects people willing to share their bed with a stranger, participate in a twenty-four hour dance marathon, or enter a karaoke competition that only plays The Smiths. Elsewhere, a bond is established between those who consider themselves to have been a strange child or even to look like God; or between Turkish Berliners sporting the blue and white insignia of the Yankees baseball cap. Examples of ‘invented community’ within contemporary art might include: Adam Chodzko’s From Beyond (1996), Reunion: Salo (1998), Recall: Strange Child (1997), The International God Look-Alike Contest (1995-96); Mario Garcia Torres’ What Happens in Halifax Stays in Halifax (in 36 Slides) (2004-2006); Rineke Dijkstra’s The Buzzclub, Liverpool (1996); Roderick Buchanan’s Yankees (1997), Sophie Calle’s The Sleepers (1980); Phil Collins’ They Shoot Horses (2004) and The World Won't Listen (2005).

Emma Cocker 2007 onwards (a potentially changeable text)