Sideways walks with a donkey

At the Geovation event described in the previous post, I met my friend Andrew Stuck from Rethinking Cities. He had just returned from the Sideways festival 2012, a 4-week walking expedition of more than 350kms across the breadth of Belgium. On the expedition a multimedia-carrying donkey that mapped air quality and noise along the route was joined by several artists, whose intention (as I understand from Andrew and from the blurb on the website) was to demonstrate that walking trails can be more than a means to an end. I don’t completely get it but the website states :

“Far more than a connection to move from point A to point B, a trail is tantamount to a movement, an act of crossing, the performance of the passage. Sideways postulates no destinations; only variations of stillness and movement. Art on site, but occurring along lines (of movement) rather than situated at specific locations.” 

Andrew summarises his experience as follows:  “There were about 9 or 10 of us who walked for a month with up to 30 – 40 artists joining us at various points.  There was no mountain scenery, wilderness or bears to contend with, instead a lot of suburbia, with houses with neatly trimmed gardens adorned with kitsch flamingos and gnomes…The walking group didn’t ever really become a homogenous community…but I have made some good friends and discovered other avenues to follow”. The donkey was unavailable for comment (and I don’t speak Flemish) but you can read more about the very interesting organisation from which it was deployed here.



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