Walking as performance.

Walking between artistic practice and political demonstration.


This thesis takes its point of departure form the walking performance "In Between Here and Now". At the 24th November 2014, exactly two years after the Refugee Protest March in November 2012 form Traiskirchen to Vienna, I followed their route. Walking this way, questions about "the politics of" the act of walking as a performance and the performative act of walking as a social and political demonstration arose. Can a walking-performance reveal public memory? And what relation has an individual subject in between and without a collective to walk/demonstrate with? In demonstrations or political marches, people gather together in public, carry signs, shout out their discontentment and start to move, to walk together, to express with their bodies and their feet the displeasure they feel towards a political situation. There lies a strong current underneath the act of walking in this situation. How can "the politics of" demonstration be visualized in contemporary art?

First I will discuss the two performative aspects of walking. The one as a social performance of walking/demonstrating and the other a performance in contemporary art. Following this, the walking/demonstrating performance "In the Near Future" (2005-2009) of Sharon Hayes will be analyzed. Here the focus will be on questions about what makes her performance a political art of walking and what politics are revealed in it. The theoretical analysis of walking performances connects the field of artistic production, contemporary art, performance theory, sociological and philosophical theories. Especially the performance theoretical position of Peggy Phelan and her transdisciplinary approach of discussing the politics of performance is a central thinking and starting point of this analysis. Son in this thesis the point of convergence will be a theoretical analysis of "the politics of walking" where the performative act of walking/demonstraing will be put in relation to a walking performance in contemporary art.