With January 2017 in sight I am starting to organise materials and prepare for the exhibition that will wrap up the Honouring Esther project. Just tidied up the two social media trails for a start, using the Combi Maps function on Social Hiking:.
The walk in Germany February 2016 below aggregated social media using Social Hiking. Zoom in and click on the blue icons to get thumbnails then click on the thumbnails to go to the media.
and the social media trail from Somerset April 2015
Thundering bridge where for years there were warning signs: men working below. The signs always troubled me. No one there as we walked through liminal Avonmouth. The river slow off to the estuary almost more mud than water.
We walked thinking about the river and what it carried and more and more I am thinking of the memory it holds. A legacy that is with us and part of us, blood and water. From the heady heights the road thundered at us, bars restrained us and coaches teased us. The lure of speed in its deadly spate, great chunks of metal hammering past. The past roaring at us from behind bars as we looked down to the river.
Smoothing down and out of that epic adrenaline enchantment to more overgrown tracks. The river drifted by its run slowing as the tide turned. An indifference.
Down this river went the brass and cloth from mills at Keynsham, Saltford and Bath; guns, gunpowder and more from Bristol. Where were the shackles made? Boats built, repaired, cleaned, loaded unloaded along this river. Here. We tried to imagine. Boats returning feeding the european addictions, sugar, tobacco, rum: wealth on one form or another. Wealth oozing, viscous, tarry old oil not smooth river mud.
We spirited up a galleon decked with flags first down river then motoring up against the current where teams of strong men would have heaved. A pirate ship, a heritage spectacle not even harnessed to the wind, an enchantment of adventure and enterprise materialised
So we walked on into the enchantment of neoliberalism and stumbled upon its shipwrecks. A contemporary epic of adventure, freedom and enterprise proclaiming who deserves, seizing ownership of shared assets and re-writing the story of collective mutual support. Those deemed undeserving are abandoned. Thrown overboard. Assets re-purposed. The legacy of slaveownership runs deep.
At last arriving at Bristol old wharves, great red brick boxes, the bonded warehouses in which I had once imagined the merchants counting their gold, loomed through the gorge. Under Leigh Woods, graffitti walls for years emblazoned with Hendrix Lives. Deeper and out of site another palladian mansion stands triumphant the origin of its wealthy statement barely challenged.
Revised start time.
11.00 at Avonmouth train station. Approx arrival Bristol 16.00
A new project beginning to shape up developing work on Bath's Last Legal Slave Owners and the idea of a larger river walk sense-ing the legacies of slavery and slaveownership.
A disenchanted walk in time, space and place.
The River Avon powered the brass mills between Bath and Bristol that produced the brass manillas that were the currency of the slave trade. Here in appalling conditions workers produced Guinea pots for sale in West Africa. The water drove hammers that the workers used to skillfully batter sheets of brass into shape.
...and more...those boats from Bristol did not set off for West Africa empty.
And neither did they return from the Caribbean just with sweet things and leaves to smoke. Recceing and working this out at the moment. Join me share what you know, lets work this out...contact me on the form below. No spam I promise.
Join me on foot or online on Sunday 1 May walking from Avonmouth to Bristol...up the gorge senseing the legacies of slavery and slaveownership
Meet 11.00 Avonmouth train station. All day walk approx 10 miles.
Follow and join the Honouring Esther walk.
live. without walking!
On Thursday and Friday 4 and 5 February I will be walking with a group of others retracing the route of a Nazi Death March 71 years to the day after it took place. Bath Spa University will be relaying the social media feed using Social Hiking to the giant mediawall at Newton Park campus.
other social media links will be bounced through twitter and facebook
please follow/share/like etc,
use and check out the following #tags #honouringesther #walknow
you can also follow the walk by following me on Viewranger http://my.viewranger.com/user/details/277417
draft route map: http://my.viewranger.com/route/details/ODAwODI=
More info here: https://forcedwalks.wordpress.com/the-walk-in-germany-2016/
Winter closes in on refugees crossing Europe, tragic events in Paris and under reported terror attacks elsewhere force us to think about the world we live in and the world we want to live in. Thinking about making the walk in Germany, refugees and the resonances we want to generate.
In researching and planning the walk in Germany one of our key contacts has been Peter Jackson. Peter was on National Service in Lower Saxony in the 1950’s when the area was receiving displaced people, refugees, caught up in the massive post war migration and housing them in the same buildings that had been used during WW2 for forced labour. Whilst there Peter came across the Jewish women's camp at Ovelgönne, ironically named ‘Walsdeslust’. Layer upon layer of memory and history: last week Peter photgraphed a memorial to those refugees from parts of Germany that became Poland who had made their homes locally. Second generation and third generation refugees, survivors, witnesses, liberators, jailers, perpetrators...the memories mix, the stories intertwine like the routes on our map.
Peter saw the physical remains of the slave labour camp where Esther was held and from where the death march she survived started. More than a shadow on the map now, an old shed shrouded in weeds and memories, what traces might be here? He met with an old man who as a boy remembers the inmates and guards with guns.
On the site of the slave labour camp there is indeed a Garden Centre and it does indeed grow orchids. Somewhere in there to be unpicked is a motif and metaphor as powerful as the lion and the beehive on the Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin. Two walks, two stories of subjugation and appropriation: out of strength a certain sweetness, out of death a strange beauty.
In the face of blood and fear and bullets this is the time to be making gestures of love and solidarity; reminding ourselves of the values of internationalism and human rights. If we can do nothing else we can walk in witness. Esther was liberated from Belsen to Sweden to become a refugee, beginning another long journey into exile.
Lorna Brunstein and I have just launched a crowdfunding campaign to support the last phase of the project that started in Somerset back in April. The walk originates in the testimony of her mother's forced march from a slave labour camp into the infamous Belsen death camp. In April we walked as close as we could to the death march route that I had transposed to Somerset, arriving at the old Jewish Burial Ground in Bath on 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belsen.
On 4 and 5 February 2016 we will walk the actual route of the death march starting on the anniversary of the day that the group of women, including Esther Brunstein, left the slave labour camp near Hannover for Belsen. We are raising money to properly support the walk live and enable it to be fully documented and thus to extend the connections and amplify the resonances from it.
Honouring Esther is a performative walking arts project that has as its heart the testimony of a Nazi death march survivor.
Through Esther Brunsteins personal story at stopping points along the way we will share her spirit of internationalism and humanity. This is a poignant and timely walk resonating with contemporary struggles as the refugee crisis across Europe continues.
The walk will remind us that a refugee’s journey continues until they find safety and a welcome and a sense of belonging. For many it is a life long search. In the end we are all migrants and we all need safety, security, love and friendship. If you are interested in finding out more, check out the blog here: Honouring Esther
A Walk to the View, Sunday 4 October begins testing the idea of a walk out on enchantment. Join me on foot or online for an experimental walk wayfaring through Bath.
Meet outside 44AD Art Gallery/Studios at 10.00
I have now tracked this short walk a couple of times, experimenting layering up using Social Hiking, this is a live link so it will build as I add to it. Use the zoom tool to get closer, looks great in satellite view, click on the blue icons to see photos tweets and maybe more. You can follow me and walkers live by going to my link on Social Hiking.
On Sunday we'll be using some of the data on the beneficiaries of the slave trade perhaps to get another view on the enchanted city of Bath! A disenchantment, perhaps.
I am very keen to network with anyone interested in taking part in this remotely and of course walkers are hugely welcome. Artists, photographers, historians or even if you just fancy a different challenge to your walking.
Join on foot if you can or online. Twitter: @walknowlive #walknow
If you are thinking of joining the walk please let me know and if you are a socialmedia user...twitter, instagram etc please bring your phone!
Questions? Comments? It would be great if you could let me know if you are coming!
A YEAR WALKING OUT ON ENCHANTMENT
An open invitation to join a walk: on foot, online or both.
Join me on a monthly walk exploring enchantment, heritage and the body. A series of critical walks exploring ‘hidden’ heritage, walks to work, walks that were or are work, walks that make connections and resonate on human rights issues.
I am currently experimenting with strategies to resist immersive romantic/arcadian walking practices. So rather than walking to commune with nature and all that involves I am interested in walking out of necessity or coercion, from walks to work to walks at gunpoint, the walks of refugees, the walks of those who have to. I am interested in developing a disenchanted walking practice, aware of enchantments but never totally immersed in them. I am not quite sure what that will be and my intention is to use the coming year to discover that, and I hope you will join me for some or part of that journey on foot or online or both.
My walking practice is digitally connected and this invitation is open to those who may wish to engage online as well as those who would like to physically walk. I am particular keen to walk with those who would like to experiment with social media and social networking in this context. Walkers of all kinds welcome.
The first walk will be on Sunday 4 October, to experiment on and with the recently released National Trust walk from the City of Bath to Bathwick fields.
email for further info.
Times, dates and reports live and other wise will be published across these platforms
on my sketch blog https://rswpost.wordpress.com/
and tidier reports eventually here: