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A Line Made For Walking is an experiment in direction in the landscape.
Some believe a path only truly exists as it is walked. In this field this was largely true since it was poorly indicated by signposts and if it appeared on the ground at all it was as a few faint desire lines. Without a clear path the eye interprets the space horizontally, bounded above by the treeline. Where the eye goes, the feet tend to follow. Hence the empty field issued an inadvertent sign to the walker to leave the path and explore.
Employing "nudge" theory, the land was "scaped" with a mower to provide an obvious route. A choice is physically constructed for the walker, highlighting the permitted path. What is not path is harder to access and by implication not permitted. It is fascinating that photographing the landscape emphasises the signs we encounter there - a clear path provides linear and aesthetic perspective, whereas faint lines will be lost in a featureless flat representation that the eye will wonder aimlessly across.
#ashdownpost is a physical post installed at the beginning of the path that acts as a referent to online images of the path, creating an insitu exhibition in the process. It is also a viewpoint from which the visitor is encouraged to take photographs and to consider how their behaviour in the landscape is being influenced.
Images communicate in a different way when they move as is examined in the black and white film that accompanies the work. In the photograph of A Line Made For Walking the eye has a tendency to follow the path rather than an obligation. By contrast the moving image provides active direction to the viewer, who must keep to the path and in fact remain on it forever on a continuous loop. Conceptually the short film resolves the problem of how to keep the walker to the footpath.
The clear cues provided by A Line Made For Walking have worked well to nudge people back onto the path. There is one thing that will always override this behaviour, however, and that is our love of dogs. When a beloved pet strays from the path, this issues an open invitation to the walker to fetch it back.
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