Just uploaded another WALC Episode where I reflect on the challenges of walking in polar cold conditions. Have a listen here:
I got thinking about this walking past the local hospice today. Seems there is substantial work already in progress. Check out these videos.
We are delighted to offer you 4 new episodes.
- A 2-part Interview with Dr. Alan Sears from Ryerson University. He discusses his own walking and the relationship between walking and social action movements in Europe. One of the best episodes we have.
- The audio version of a reflection by Corinna Fowlow from the University of Toronto on her recent experience on the Trinity labyrinth
- Ray reads the list of 135 words for “walker”
- A brief reflection on recent psychogeography
Go here to hear
Padakun friend, Corinna Fowlow , from the University of Toronto, reports on her recent experience in the Trinity Square labyrinth in Toronto.
Read her report https://1drv.ms/b/s!Asp4TsIxOwscjHSmiWsTBA5kmbPp
Perambulator, sashayer, ambler… How many words can you give for a “walker”?
Here’s our list of 135 words that describe different aspects of walking:
135 WORDS FOR WALKER
- leg stretcher
- rolling stone
Just posted a bunch of new stuff
- The London Perambulator is a superb doc introducing the efforts of Nick Papadimitriou, who has defined “deep topography”, the intensive pedestrian exploration of urban margins. Input from psychogeographers Will Self and Iain Sinclair too.
2. I have added a new 2-part WALC episode. Its a conversation with fellow walker, Lara Mylly during a walk at Shaw Woods.
Enjoy our latest WALC Podcast item.
(Sorry about the wind noise)
For all of our previous walking history, we have walked on the physical earth, among real tress and stones. There have been symbolic practices, like visualizations, where we cultivate an imagined world, like the Buddhist Pure Land and we have used symbolic journeys like the labyrinth or Stations of the Cross. Only recently, as part of our electronic revolution has it become possible to view and experience, in a rich and compelling way, a simulated walk in hundreds of world and otherworldly locations.
Using various kinds of head-mounted “virtual reality” (VR) devices we can “walk” on the Appalachian Trail, in the Italian Dolomites and more.
Two Main Types:
2D Photosphere and 3D Modelling
- 2D Photosphere: Passive, constructed from on real location, good for simple demos, (like a tourist destination), not good for objects
- video 360 ; This is what is used for Google’s Street View. Special cameras capture views which the viewer can scan later in a full, somewhat warped 360 degree perspective. Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYBd0oKVmhQ
- POV video; This is Point-of-view capture where you can travel through a space and view as if you were the traveller. These are becoming more popular as treadmill/ cycle/ elliptical machine use. What you see resembles what a traveller would see. It lacks 360 capacity. have a look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=styiDn7YKhE
- 3D modelling: High user agency, can be interactive, not reliant on real locations, good for objects, can create imagined sites (like fantasy worlds)
- VR- Simulated: These are computer graphics (CGI) constructed representations of real sites, like the Vatican, that you can visit and explore. It is possible, as in most games, that you can use objects in the field and interact with an artificial intelligence figure. You can even adopt an avatar, like an ancient monk, going to that site. Check out a making-of vid for the VR experience of walking between the NY Twin Towers in the film The Walk (great book by the way)
- VR – fantasy: This began with PAC man and Super Mario, where fantasy figures travel and act in a imagined world. This can be as sophisticated as your technology allows. These can even be hyper-realistic version of our world, as with this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_ifgJqLqTY
- VR – augmented; This is like the above two with added sensory elements. Not only can you walk across a canyon bridge, with special “haptic” wearables, you can feel the sway and smell the air. A good example is Merrell TrailScape which is a 4D, motion-tracked, multi-sensory experience .
The question we can begin with is whether we can practice any contemplative walking in any of these artificial environments. Would they actually represent the experience we have in a real trail or city environment. Might the experience be similar enough? Might it even be better? We’ll come back to this in later posts.
For an initial commentary, check out this Sierra Club commentary: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/can-virtual-reality-make-great-outdoors-even-greater
I’ve started reading a journal of Dorothy Wordsworth on a trip she and her brother William took to Switzerland just after the end of the Napoleonic War, (early 1820’s). She is the lesser known of the two sibs, but holds her own as a keen observer of their travels. Its remarkable her walking energy for a 19th century woman, a time when women were held to be fragile flowers.
She is one of a set of writer-walker-tourists that we are studying to understand walkers’ experience in the past. Dorothy was an avid walker, capable of 25-30 mile/day walks – no slouch!
In her book, Prints, Panoramas, and Picturesque Travel in Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal of a Tour on the Continent, Pamela Buck writes:
When Dorothy Wordsworth arrived in Switzerland in 1820 with her brother the poet William Wordsworth, his wife Mary Wordsworth, her cousin Thomas Monkhouse, and his new wife Jane Horrocks, they were one of many middle-class family groups who adopted the practices of commercial tourism in order to see the country. Her Journal of a Tour on the Continent, which covers the three-and-a-half-month journey through France, Switzerland, and Italy, records her visits to renowned sites such as the birthplace of William Tell, the castle of Chillon, Voltaire’s château, and her brother’s path through the Alps from his walking tour of 1790. With the reopening of the Continent after the end of the Napoleonic wars, travel abroad was no longer only a privilege of wealthy men on the Grand Tour but a popular consumer enterprise supported and enhanced by guidebooks, print culture, and visual entertainments (Wood 117). Many of these were influenced by William Gilpin’s theory of the picturesque, namely an aesthetic based on the perceptual structures of art that encouraged tourists to view landscape as a picture.