Walking in Urbana

Tobias-Green, Karen (2017) Walking in Urbana. [Show/Exhibition]

Abstract

The output is an exhibition, a series of 20 intermedial images and written narratives taken during an international research trip to Urbana, Illinois (2016). Tobias-Green used a camera-phone to document an urban walk during an interstitial moment. The series of images is understood as an unfolding visual narrative. Research Process: In a research context, walking is associated with a freedom of thought which assumes the freedom of the walking subject (Paterson, 2016) but walking is not universally available and risk free (Heddon, 2016). Walking comes with choices (one path travelled is another less travelled). Walking becomes research by first making space for the sharing of intimate, active exchanges between the human and the non-human. The walk and photographs challenge what Judith Butler calls ‘the subversion of an authority that grounds itself in what may not be questioned’ (1997). Research Insights: Tobias-Green discovered how the process of walking can be a practice-led research inquiry, rebuilding, reviewing and replenishing lost histories, stories of the ‘then’, the ‘now’ and the ‘possible’. The images show the walk across town, during which Tobias-Green’s humanist sense of self gradually receded into a post humanist awareness of a vitally connected world out there, enhanced by what Jones and Hoskins call 'thingly power' (2016), the agency of the land, feet, the camera, the sun, the vastness of past and present. The narrative gives textual voice to this through the sometimes treacherous landscape of the sentence. Dissemination: These images and their accompanying narratives were exhibited at Leeds Arts University in 2017. The peer-review led to a more focused approach so that the exhibition became a walk itself. The project was exhibited at Walking Women, Somerset House, 2016. Tobias-Green has subsequently used the project to explore lines of enquiry at both postgraduate and undergraduate level demonstrating impact on teaching.

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