Exhibition - Walk On: 40 years of Art Walking, Pitzhanger Manor House
The Walk Book and CD, Janet Cardiff, 2005. Walks in Paris, London, and New York.
I am sitting on a park bench in Ealing and switch on Janet Cardiff’s narrative. Instantly I am connected to her reality, she is sitting on a park bench, in the very different urban environment of Central Park, New York. She describes children on bikes passing by and exactly at the same moment children cycle past me, here in London. I listen to more descriptions but wander off in my mind as a cat has just approached and a group of people gather round to stroke it. A choir is practising: she explains’ I am very bad at linear working; I use an open ended narrative, skipping from one thing to another’. I listen to more fragments as she passes through the streets of New York and begins to distinguish memory from perception. ‘In pure memory the temporal sequence of events is shattered’. I agree with that but start to lose interest. No longer able to connect to her continuing observations, I realise that listening to this narrative is displacing me from being here, now. Police sirens pass in the distance, was it here, or there in Central Park?
Janet Cardiff would like to ‘move a whole room like a time machine from London to New York’. I think she just moved a park.
Simon Pope, A Common Third