Programme Assistant Cara Lockley catches up with Ania Bas before her upcoming walking event at Arnolfini.
The Walk & Talk series is part of the events programme running alongside Richard Long’s exhibition. Can you tell us more about what you’ll be doing on Saturday?
I don't want to give everything away but we will read a couple of texts that I hope will put us in the mood to walk. We will walk and we will write but we won't be doing it simultaneously. I hope it will be a chance to connect with the fabric of the city and our internal landscapes and observe what might come out of it.
Tell us a bit about your project The Walking Reading Group. Has this influenced your plans for this Saturday’s Walk and Talk?
The Walking Reading Group is in short a reading group that walks. I run it with two other women Lydia Ashman and Simone Mair and it started from a personal need to finally read some of the books that we had on our bookcases. We select the theme, the readings and decide on the routes we are going to walk. Then we invite people to join us. The idea is that these carefully prepared texts are read in advance and the walk is a chance to discuss them with a mixture of people. It is a very full on experience as during two hours walk you normally talk to five or six people and traverse around 4miles. Conversations are one to one, so they tend to be intimate. People who join are a fluid group, some join us for whole editions of walks, others just for one or two outings. We tend to talk in urban areas and finish each walk in a bar or a pub. We have a walk coming up on 7th October in London so please join us if you can!
The walk I prepared for Saturday is going to be very different. The texts are only going to act as a springboard and we will digest them on the walk, we will also pay attention to our surroundings. Writing is going to be an important part of this hour and this is very different to The Walking Reading Group where we mainly walk and talk and and very separate from the landscape.
Collaboration is clearly very important in your practice. What does it mean to you to work with others?
My thinking process (or maybe it is a feeling process?) almost always takes me to a place where I want to and need to work with other people, a place where work without people wouldn't make sense. I am not interested in people being an audience for the work, I am interested in how work can mutate and change when other people are involved.
For example The Walking Reading Group has a very tight structure that we developed and normally use to provide a secure environment where people have brilliant debates and an experience worth remembering and hopefully repeating. As a group we disturb public space. Not always do you see twenty or thirty adults walking in crocodile formation in a city whilst totally engrossed in conversation. We see at each walk how this structure is tested and disrupted by those who join us or pass us by. People keep this piece of work changing with each edition, without them it would be just a well thought out exterior.
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