Walking in the neighbourhood

“First of all, there is the suspensive freedom that comes by walking, even a simple short stroll: throwing off the burden of cares, forgetting business for a time.” Frédéric Gros A Philosophy of Walking

Walking around my neighbourhood — what the fascist, jail-keeper culture at this time, would call ‘exercise’. ‘Exercise’ reduces a complex activity to a physical form just as it reduces a person to a body. For ‘exercise’ is without enjoyment, without culture, without thought and without freedom.

The reality of walking around my neighbourhood in Coburg is different. There are social and cultural aspects that make walking fun. There is the joy of discovery and exploration.

Walking around my block is the opportunity to communicate with neighbours sitting out the front of their house, enjoying the autumn sunshine. “Hello, my friend.” Calls out the old man from his front door. He is in good health but if we didn’t exchange these pleasantries how would I know?

There are my usual psychogeographical games to play while walking. Now add to this list of games the spotting of teddy bears in people’s windows, a recently devised walking game for small children. As well as, inspired by a friend, the photographing and critiquing of discarded art (see his guest post: Reservoirs’s Rejected Art).

I thought him when I saw this empty flat Australian landscape is hand painted and is signed and © 1982. Unfortunately it is now surplus to the owner’s decorating requirements. 

On the subject of the copyright symbol; on my daily walks I have been observing the work of a local tagger: GOD©. GOD© must be an artist, the Jean-Michel Basquiat (aka SAMO©) influence is evident. It is tagging based on the concept rather than the calligraphy. I am not going to defend all of GOD©’s work but some of it is worthwhile. We need more stupid graffiti to give us a laugh and not just spectacular cool stuff.

While GOD© moves in a mysterious way, my own locomotion around my neighbourhood is pedestrian. One foot in front of the other; walking not as an exercise but as a way of life.

About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

2 responses to “Walking in the neighbourhood

  • Lisa Hill

    I’m astonished by your remark about the “fascist jail-keeper culture”.
    I suspect that if you actually knew anything about fascist cultures in C20th Europe you would find another way to express your frustration.
    As one of your readers in a high risk group, I am grateful that our governments are prepared to risk criticism to reduce the risk to us all, and #TruthBeTold I don’t have much patience with people who publicly try to undermine that. Especially if they are educated people.

  • Mark Holsworth

    I am discussing the choice of words used rather than any medical advice. Would you prefer to be treated as a body or a person? Do you think that this is a war or a pandemic? If you think that it is pandemic then you should object to the use of war metaphors or prison terms.

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