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A direction out there – readwalking (with) Thoreau

A direction out there – readwalking (with) Thoreau, published by MA BIBLIOTHEQUE (September 2021), brings together in a pocket size book, a prepared text, a text score and two essays by Michael Hampton and Vicky Smith.

Henry David Thoreau’s transcendental lecture/essay Walking (1851), after pruning, becomes conceptual poetry with an accompanying score for reading, walking, speaking, singing, playing. A reading path leads through Thoreau’s words, keeping a trace of the original text as the visible root of my rewilding; this mise en abyme reveals endless potential paths.

“I speak the (non-walking) words one at a time as I encounter them, one leading me to the next as it completes it. The last may sometimes leave a trail. “

Readwalking describes a simultaneous act of reading and walking: reading as walking, of walking as reading, of reading a text about walking, step by step, putting one foot in front of the other, each word calling the next, following one’s instinct or senses, as one is going along a reading path, as Thoreau writes, always going west, sauntering, readwalking as if one’s life depended on it…

‘Emmanuelle Waeckerlé’s score lifts the materiality of the text out of its ordinary fusion with the flows of meaning and rumination. Read-walking Thoreau, even in one’s own mind, has the salutary effect of an acupuncture of the spacetime of reading. Constellations of ideas virtually glow around Thoreau’s grey-scaled text, beautifully illuminated from different angles by Vicky Smith and Michael Hampton’s essays.’— Cécile Malaspina

‘Wherever a (wo)man separates from the multitude, and goes her own way in this mood, there indeed is a fork in the road’. Life without principle, (Henry David Thoreau, 1863)

A direction out there – readwalking (with) Thoreau, a double cd released in July 2021 by Edition Wandelweiser is available here.

In revisiting Thoreau, Waeckerlé is following the footsteps of Susan Howe greatly named Thorow (1990) and John Cage Mureau (1972). In this work she develops further her interest in appropriation through experimental re-writing and reading of literary works that started with Reading (story of) O (Uniformbooks, 2015), Ode (owed) to O (Edition Wandelweiser, 2017), Black and Blue (2020), Song of an Intention (2019) and Still Light (2020). While she continues exploring - walking reading and writing - as simultaneous acts of marking and reading (a page, a path or a place). Doing so through Fluxus like poetic text scores and their activation; roadworks (1996, 1998), SLOW MARCH (2001), JUNGLE FEVER (2011/15), PRAELUDERE (2013/18).

The CD and pocket book were produced with financial support from UCA research fund.



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