Module 2 – “a moment in everyday walks” & “(in)visible”

by | Jun 26, 2022 | 5: Summer Course 2022 | 2 comments

Tags: Module 2
Module 2 – “a moment in everyday walks” & “(in)visible”

a moment in everyday walks by Katrine

“How many times have you been walking the same route over and over again without stopping and just sensing the area? Go for one of your usual walks, it could be to the store, the school, the cafe etc. Set a timer for ten minutes from the moment you leave your home. Walk as you would normally, whether that is while listening to music, a podcast or maybe just your thoughts. When the alarm goes off, stop for some minutes. How does the place smell like? Do you hear any sounds or music? What is making the sounds? Do you feel anything physically like wind, warmth or rain? How does the ground feel like? Do you spot anything new or a detail you may have missed on your earlier walks? Feel free to write down your observations and thoughts. Take a video of the area or record the sound. Feel free to use your notes and/or audio or video to create something that describes the moment.”

I am a very busy person with a lot of plans and schedules. I tend to walk very fast and directly towards the places I have to be. I seldom stop during the routes I take almost every day. I chose to go my normal walk to the store this day and listened to music while walking. When the timer went off I stopped and turned off the music. I found myself in a location right under the main road of the city, right before you get to enter the main street of the town. I became really aware of the noise from the cars above me and how this area was a “bridge” between the town center and the outer city. There was also a lot of traffic on the ground because I was standing next to a bike-road with lots of bikers passing by. I started listening to the different sounds: wheels, cars honking, bikes, foot steps of people passing by, el-scooters, industrial workers, seagulls, wind and leaves dancing in it. I started smelling smoke from a small burger shop across the street. I felt the soft wind and small rain drops. I was standing on hard asphalt. Standing here for some minutes I studied some street art on a wall that I had never stopped to look at.

The proposition made me take a break from stressful routines and just enjoy and sense the moment. I also took the time to enjoy the sounds from the nature and objects around me, and not to music, which I seldom do. It was nice to appreciate the city in a different way and feel and sense it. It made me relaxed and aware of all the beautiful spots along the route I was taking.

(in)visible by Gefsi

My proposition includes an attempt to see what see are missing because of the way we are trained to look around. I recommend a walk with a familiar route in which you will turn your eyes in the things you would notice. For example you can look high in the buildings or the sky or you can also look down which is also something we avoid for practical reasons. Can these new information change the way you are thinking about the area/street etc? What do you think about what make us decide which things will be “invisible”? What are the reason and the criteria?”

I started walking my usual walk to the store. I was most of the time looking upwards. I found it difficult sometimes due to the sun dazzling me. On my walk I noticed some interesting details. I realized that I actually tend to look high up while walking, but never look closely to the details. I noticed small details like patterns and architecture, also plants growing from weird places.

The detail that fascinated me the most was a house that burnt years ago. They never did anything to the house after the fire and left it empty with an open roof. I noticed small trees growing out from it which made me surprised and happy. It was like the nature was taking back what once was theirs. At the same time it showed the beauty of how nature can start to grow in all different places and from ashes.

Walking through the streets were challenging because I had to be careful and not walk into other people while constantly trying to look up and search for new details. It was also tiring to keep my head tilted upwards for a long period. The proposition made me more aware of all the hidden and fun details I never notice because of me always looking forward. It made me question the architecture and details that was meant to be seen by others, but probably not seen by many considering them being so high up.

2 Comments

  1. Zhiyu (Gabby) Wen

    Hi Katrine I appreciate your proposition and your practice. Both of your and Gefsi’s propositions explored something that is familiar to you yet constantly escapes your notice, something that frequently happens to you but rarely gets your attention. Tomine made a similar proposition to me, asking me to pick a path and investigate it. I decided to take a quick route that I go practically daily. I never observed birds chirping or bird feathers on the grass till the day I was doing the proposition. I also put my phone in my pocket and took a recording of myself walking down that road, which allowed me to realize how robotic-sounding the sound of my walking was. In short, I found these propositions incredibly motivating; they forced us to slow down and be “small” so that we could give the environment an opportunity to enlighten us.

  2. Helene Illeris

    HI Katrine. I agree with Gabby that both of your walking propositions were very interesting because of the sharpened attention they provided both towards the surroundings and towards your own way of relating to them while going from one place to another in your everyday life. This kind of ‘sharpened dwelling’ where to move slower while being attentive to things you usually would not notice is essential both in ethnography and more general in learning processes – to see and be in the world differently.

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