HALIFAX – Interdisciplinary artist Eryn Foster organizes public walks in Point Pleasant Park titled Wanders in the Yonder. You may have seen her beautiful posters shimmering behind storefront glass or tucked on arts bulletins. Fosters’ Wanders in the Yonder is the product of the new Artist-in-residency program in Point Pleasant Park sponsored by the Halifax Regional Municipality. Since October, Foster has been utilizing her residency project to do further research on the art of walking.
Walking is not new to Foster; she has been walking around the Maritimes since 2007, when she first initiated her art project New Canadian Pilgrimages. Like her New Canadian Pilgrimages project, Fosters’ wanderings through the park are unmapped and flow with the consciousness and collective movements of whoever participates in the performance. The overall idea to Fosters’ walks is to wander; to not set out on an etched out path and to not talk about the current performance of wandering. When participants are done walking, they wander off without telling anyone. But the group does talk! In fact, Foster records the sounds from the walk, park and human chatter, for an undetermined archive project. Foster has been applying her performance research at conferences like Walk21 in Barcelona, Spain or at other artist residencies, such as the one at Centre for Art Tapes in Halifax, NS (learn more about what Foster worked on at her Artist Talk on December 5th at 1pm at Point Pleasant Lodge).
On Sunday, November 1st, 2009, I joined Foster for a three hour walk titled The Day of the Dead: The Existential Excursion, with seven other participants. The title of this walk was an ironic spin on exploring the meaning of life on the day that we remember the dead. Over the course of the wander that led us on trails and off trails, participant wanderers shared stories, some obscure ideas regarding the meaning of life, others about where they actually are in life, (expecting a baby, buying a house, art school) and their knowledge about different insights during the walk, such as learning about the local flora and fauna.
On Sunday, November 8th, 2009, Foster invited artist Barbara Lounder to guide the walk with different art performances, one including, the use of her walking sticks and the other walking blind-folded. This Sunday, November 15th, Foster has organized a walk with The Walking Monk. Otherwise known as Bhaktimarga Swami, the Walking Monk has walked across Canada four times and will bring his insights and performances to Fosters’ Wanders.
The last wander, scheduled on November 29, 2009 is a backwards walk titled, “Going Backwards, Moving Forwards.” Wanders in the Yonders scheduled Sunday walks begin at 1pm at the Point Pleasant Lodge (where Young Ave meets the park).
For more information about Eryn Foster’s walking performances or the performance of walking in general, read Sue Johnson’s Article The Art of Walking in the Dominion Paper.
photo by Crystal Melville