The aim is to complete a series of performance walks following the map provided in the book, The Bridleways of Britain.
For the past year I have been working on the project titled Horse Woman, making a number of performances and have kept a blog which documents the various happenings.
My aim at this stage is to complete a series of performance walks following the Equestrian trails provided in ‘The Bridleways of Britain.’ Previously I have completed some walks as part of this project but upon discovering this book I feel it provides a strong guide to the Equestrian lifestyle that I am attempting to engage with. I feel that by following the guidelines provided in the book my performances will be have a continued learning process into the notion of walking as performance, focusing on duration, audience and collaborative ideologies and significantly, the importance of history within communities. I have attached a copy of the map provided by the book which displays the walks I intend to follow. The work will be touring from town to town listed in the book, the work takes place along public bridleways and paths rather than venues, however it does begin at Strange Cargo, Folkestone an Art Space that has agreed to support the making of the work. The book takes its reader through a number of bridleways throughout Britain, which include disused paths, as well as paths that have been used for centuries by both horse riders and tradesmen. The walks are written by people who are keen horse riders.
I propose the project to take six months; there are twenty-seven walks in total each of varying length. Each walk will be documented, posted onto a blog and written about. The blog I intend to use is https://martinavermorel.wordpress.com/ which I have used to document and research Horse Woman throughout the past year. As well as this Strange Cargo have agreed to show some of the work on their website.
Synopsis – Horse Woman:
Horse Woman is a story about a woman who falls in love with a horse. She loves the horse so much that over time her treatment of the horse begins to border on neglect. Horse Woman looks at the relationship between animal and human, the differences, similarities and actions taken.
The story climaxes with the horses death as it accidentally jumps off a cliff whilst trying to run away, as the woman has completely isolated herself from everyone and everything it is up to her to move the horses body and dispose of it.
Horse Woman, is a multi layered piece that carries a complex investigation into the mind of a young woman. The relationship between the woman and the horse has become so convoluted that it becomes difficult to tell which is woman and which is horse, or if the horse or woman exist at all. Horse Woman delivers a story of madness, isolation and obsession.
Horse Woman – The Walks, explores duration which is a central to my Arts Practice. I have become increasingly curious about working with duration in the context of a gallery space, my previous works have often been silent and viewers watch the work unfold over a period of hours or days. This piece pushes these notions further; the work takes place outside in a public domain which pushes myself as the artist to investigate communication between the audience and the artist. Horse Woman – The Walks, seeks to learn more about my own boundaries and deals with dialogue between performer and viewer.
The costume worn provides a sense of familiarity to many, especially those who are do not usually engage with the arts. There is an understanding of who might wear such an outfit and this provides an instant discourse between artist and viewer.
Potentially the audience could walk with me, but I have decided not to rely on this partaking as understandably many of these walks are very long and it may not be viable for people to take part. However as mentioned earlier the maps provided both physically and online will allow people to decide for themselves as they will be able to clearly see where I will be walking and when.
Upon completion of the work, future engagement can be met online using the blog as a tool to view the work from beginning to end. I also intend to create a book of the walks which would allow future audiences who are interested in the work but unfortunately missed it at the time to view the images taken alongside text of both the story and discussion of the project.
Strange Cargo Art Space, Folkestone have agreed to support these performances by showing some work from the project so far as well as providing a starting point to the walks. This will allow the community in Folkestone to be aware of the quest, maps will be provided to the audience members as well as being available in the gallery as a handout and on their notice board. This map will tell the viewers when and where I intend to walk and will also provide an explanation, including a link to the blog on the back of the leaflet, allowing them the opportunity to follow my journey. I will also be handing these maps out on the way, giving them to campsite owners and passersby.
Although this is a solo performance, the collaboration between the Art Space and I are central to the works progress. Their role will see that local communities are aware of the work creating a discourse which seeks to engage with both Arts Practitioners and the Audience. As the work is taking place primarily outside it is important to have a platform that can instruct various audiences when and where the work is taking place. Importantly, Horse Woman – The Walks will actively engage with people who have little or no engagement with arts activity as well as those who do. Some areas are deep in the countryside where there are few or no arts organisations nearby, therefore this work will engage with audiences who rarely see arts activities, especially Live Art based works.
The project Horse Woman has shown to successfully complete a series of works over the past year, prior to this I have continuously worked in the Arts, showing works publically and engaging with new audiences and ideas. I am confident that my past experiences of creating performances that have at times lasted for up to a month, working in a space every day, shows that I can successfully complete the task of following these walks.
The action of walking from town to town, talking to those who ask questions and staying at campsites all deal with public engagement as well as this the online blog and documentation will provide a dialogue that can be looked upon discrepantly or through commenting or emailing myself online creating an open dialogue, these exchanges will help build an evaluation of the project as it is taking place.
I have and will continue to evaluate the project on my blog, at this stage I been contextualising my work and discussing ideas and assessing outcomes. I intend to maintain this practice during and after the walks are completed. Evaluation is as important an activity in the development of my work as research is.
I will be looking at, public engagement – talking to audiences, walking, performing. Duration – how it is affecting both me and the work. Documentation – how the performance works when it becomes a video or photograph. Documenter – will he become part of the work? Given that he is walking as much as I am? How does this affect the works outcome? Future outcome possibilities? What happens when it all ends? These are the questions I will be thinking of and answering throughout the project, this will all be available on the blog which will be updated as the project is happening and beyond.
Feedback and answers to these queries will be provided through observation (public engagement, personal judgment), dialogue (audience communication, documenter observations).
The Bridleways of Britain, Annable Whittet, 1986, Whittet Books.