Syllabus - "Wanderings, Musings and the art of Getting Lost"

Wanderings, Musings and the Art of Getting Lost

Jean Marie Casbarian

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.  
–Friedrich Neitzsche

Through daily excursions we will approach the poetics of walking as a medium for studio production.  We will wander in and out of urban space and along its edges and ask ourselves what it means to get lost in or on the square, the park, the wood, the river.  Finding inspiration from the flaneur of the 19th century to the current day walking artist, we will walk together and we will walk alone, we will make and we will write, culminating in our shared imagination of experience.

We will explore a wide range of artists, writers, and walkers including the Situationists (Guy Debord, Simon Sadler), Andre Breton, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Eugene Atget, Edward Muybridge, Bruce Nauman, Simon Pope, Sophie Calle, Richard Long, Nicolas Dumit Estavez, Henry David Thoreau, and Walter Benjamin, among others.

To increase and incite ideas surrounding perception and awareness of one’s body in relationship to surroundings and provide a deeper context for students’ on-going studio practice.  To develop an understanding of cross-polination through a variety of mediums.


***Prior to the first day of class, you’ll be assigned a Color Walk (William Burroughs) to perform and document. Instructions to follow once the class roster is formed. You will bring this with you on the first day of the workshop.

***Readings are uploaded as PDFs. Additional reading folder holds a nice collection (optional) of works—one of artists; the other poets. You may want to give it a good look.

DAY 1 (Monday, August 1)


Lecture: The Urban
Screen and discuss works of Cardiff/Miller, Calle, Debord/Sadler, Alys, Sarah Cullen, Tim Knowles, etc.
Discuss the readings of Frédéric Gros, Rebecca Solnit

Walk #1 / TBD in class

Last Hour:
Present findings

Homework for Tuesday:
Create an audio file that describes how to travel from Ufer Studios to a destination of your choice. (minimum of 1 mile / no more than 3)

DAY 2 (Tuesday/ August 2)

Lecture: The Edge
Screen and discuss works of Tim Brennan, Abramovic, Alec Finlay, Rudy Burkhardt, Bas Jan Ader, Edweard Muybridge, Osckar Fischinger, etc.
Discuss the writings of Werner Herzog, Rebecca Solnit

Walk #2 / To be identified in class

Last Hour
Present findings

Homework for Thursday
Take the audio walk your colleague prepared for you. Document along the way.

DAY 3 (Wednesday / August 3)

Lecture:   The Wood
Screen and discuss works of Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, Tacita Dean, Sharon Harper, John Gossage, etc.
Discuss the readings of Henry David Thoreau, Peter Turchi, Rebecca Solnit

Walk #3 / To be identified in class

Last Hour
Present findings

Required Reading

Day 1 – The Urban

Excerpts from The Philosophy of Walking (various chapters), Frédéric Gros      pdf
Excerpt from Wanderlust (Tracing a Headland: An Introduction) Rebecca Solnit     pdf
Excerpt from Wanderlust (The Solitary Stroller and the City) Rebecca Solnit     pdf
Excerpt from Wanderlust (Citizens of the Streets: Paerties, Processions and Refolutions) Rebecca Solnit    pdf

Day 2 – The Edge

Excerpt from Of Walking in Ice (readings 1 and 2), Werner Herzog  pdf-1   pdf_2
Excerpt from The Field Guide to Getting Lost (the blue of distance) Rebecca Solnit    pdf
Excerpt from Wanderlust (The Shape of a Walk) Rebecca Solnit    pdf

Day 3 – The Wood

Walking, Henry David Throeau    pdf
From Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer (Imaginary Scrolls),  Peter Turichi    pdf
Excerpt from The Field Guide to Getting Lost (One-Story House) Rebecca Solnit    pdf


Suggested Readings
Artists’ Walks: The Persistence of Peripateticism, exhibition at Dorsky Galery, Curated by Earl Miller, September 2013     pdf
Walk, Cole Swenson (George Sand, Virginia Woolf, Lisa Robertson)        pdf

Materials students should bring to class
cameras (any), video, sound recording device, blank sketchpad/journal

walking arts, performance, urban landscape