Artist Simon Faithful once set out to walk, climb, wade, swim and walk underwater across the United Kingdom along the Greenwich Meridian, the entire United Kingdom, from the English Channel to the North Sea.
The artist demonstrates his preoccupation with the notion that human hyperactivity is utterly futile in the bigger scheme of things. Ultimately, the planet, (and its inhabitants) are literally ‘going nowhere’ other than heading for certain destruction at a later date.
There is some incredible documentation of walking-based performance and, apparently, it hasn’t been collected into an art tome until now — the new book The Art of Walking from Black Dog Publishing is “a field guide is the first extensive survey of walking in contemporary art.”
Here’s another exemplary piece from 2003. This is artist Regina José Galindo walking from Congress of Guatemala building to the National Palace, leaving a track of human blood footprints to protest the presidential candidacy of Guatemala’s former dictator and human rights offender José Efraín Ríos Montt.
The Art of Walking: A field guide is available this month on Amazon USA & UK. We Make Money Not Art says the book is worthwhile — “there are the usual photos that document performances of course but also letters, preparatory drawings, souvenir programme, etc.” — and encourages interaction, even offers blank pages for note taking. Cool.