Exploring the city

I’ve just come back from a ‘Global Shift Run’ set by Al from Aimless Motion. Aimless Motion is a running collective “using interpretive running and situations to explore individual and shared communities of thought” https://aimlessmotion.weebly.com

I was given an imagined map with a route on it. The square is my starting point- Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol and my instructions were “Please attempt to adhere as closely as possible to the map, and record your physical route either via GPS, head cam (I can lend you a camera, or pen and paper)”


So heres my route…


I don’t think I got very close, but I also don’t think thats the point.  I was also given this instruction “Let me know when you have completed the run and I will send further details about your invisible city”

So stay tuned for updates…

Last week I took part in ‘Only Expansion’ , an augmented audio walk by Duncan Speakman

again I was given instructions and sent out into the city. This time I was handed a small box, a pair of headphones and a rather beautiful book. I was told the only prompts would be single words, pertaining to the book and I should follow those.

I walked out into the city and waited. The journey took be around the centre of town, with loose guidance – find somewhere to watch, walk, touch and it allowed me to explore the town where I have lived for 15 years completely anew. I found myself in strange hidden corners and looked at  my home in an entirely new light. It was a breathtaking and emotional experience. Completely alone, amongst the public. Involved in my own experience, but shared with others in different spaces, at different times. A truly shared experience that was completely individual. I don’t take part in that many audio walks but when I do I really relish them, especially when done so expertly, with such care and lightness. They allow me to truly play in an entirely different way.

in ‘Only Expansion’ I was very much in myself, in the city, within the streets and buildings and people. On my Global Shift run I was much more ‘above the city’. I paid attention to the route I took form a birds eye view, even crossing roads at specific places to try to continue the line that the GPS would make. Essentially I was making GPS art  I was trying to copy the route and it was a really fun challenge, if difficult. I’m usually have a very good sense of direction, but today i kept getting lost. The run today dod agin allow my to really explore the city in a playful way, it allowed my to take the time to go up a flight of stairs by a bridge, along a flyover, down an alleyway- it is my favourite thing about running- the exploration- but this prompted me within a set task, which was lovely to take part in.

I am reading ‘On the Map’ by Simon Garfield at the moment. It references an essay by Sebastien Caquard  theorising films and stories preconceiving digital cartography methods and technologies. In Global shift I really felt like a character in a film, under surveillance, being watched form some dark tower, or like Dumbledore being watched by Ron and Harry. I imagined the villains in MapMyRun headquarters watching my move with beady eyes, under dark coats with hunched shoulders. In Only Expansion, I made my own map, and played out my own story with it.

New week I’ll take part in Of Home and Each Other by Splash and Ripple, another interactive audio experience. I’ll follow this up next week, along with  “further details about your invisible city”…intriguing…