STARR AUDITORIUM, TATE MODERN
15 MAY 2014
In an event entitled The Art of Walking and Slowing Down Frederic Gros, professor of philosophy at the University of Paris XII and the Institute of Political Studies, Paris, was in conversation with the British artist Richard Wentworth.
In Gros' new book The Philosophy of Walking he charts the ways we get from A to B - the pilgrimage, the protest march, the nature ramble, the stroll - and demonstrates what they tell us about ourselves and the society we live in. There are lively excursions too into the way Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Rousseau, Kant and Proust 'used' walking.
Richard Wentworth is an artist who also chronicles daily life, and challenges our taken-for-granted assumptions about the things that surround us. 'Look', he says, 'a plate is the only object where you get your own and the minute you have finished with it, it is someone else's'.
By transforming and manipulating objects into works of art, he subverts their original function and makes us see them afresh. At Walk to Free Art London: May 2011 you will find my Blog 77 on his Seige. He has threaded a cable through the seats of a couple of mass-produced stacking chairs and hung lead balls on the end. South American gauchos use balls like these to capture the legs of cattle. What we ask of a chair is stability, but these two are ensnared. All they can do is roll against each other.
In their conversations Gros and Wentworth explored the practice of walking in this era of speed, efficiency and consumption. Together they ask us to reflect on our experience of time, pleasure and solitude. A walk is not “an obstacle between here and there”. Celebrate it instead as a vital step towards really living.