We walk at a time and place of our choosing in solidarity with those who had no choice.
Forced Walks is a programme of artist-led performative, socially engaged, public walks, digitally connected and mindful of those refugees, migrants, tramps, water-carriers and others who were/are forced to walk to survive. The programme seeks to reveal hidden stories of those dispossessed of land and home by war, economic and climate change and to generate contemporary and locative resonances.
The first project: Forced Walks: Honouring Esther takes the route of a Nazi Death March and transposes it onto the English countryside.
A walk about time and the land, exile and belonging, the drift of memory and forgetting: memorialising in an era dense with anniversaries.
Honouring Esther launched on 27 January 2015, International Holocaust Memorial Day, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Death Camp at Auschwitz. The walk took place over two days culminating on 15 April, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Belsen Death Camp; the walk was documented and materials gathered for exhibition in July in Bath, England. The project completes in Germany in February 2016, walking the original route stopping at the same points of intersection as in the April 2015 walk.
- the route taken is based on the shape, orientation and scale of the historic route of a Death March mapped to a contemporary location
- points where the line of the ‘historic’ route intersect the contemporary walking route are acknowledged in a reading,/listening, a moment of reflection / creative making / silence
- willingness to participate, contribute and share online
- walkers create, gather and share responses
- all walks finish on the same day in February 2016
- participants agree to be present on foot, online or both on that day
We invite others to identify a historic death march route, perhaps drawn from family member’s testimony, configure it for the present day to a place of their choosing and prepare to walk it; or join a walk, or walk Esther’s route. This blog is a working space networking, developing and documenting the Forced Walks project.
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