Simon Pope | Toronto Waterfront artist-in-residence 2023

Staff and students from George Brown College Waterfront Campus are invited to walk through the corridor, recalling walks in other places, on Thursday 30th November 2023.

Corridor at George Brown college

A corridor for walking and remembering

The premise of this project is that 'place' is experienced through mobility, and through relationships to other places – to elsewhere. In this experimental artwork, I play on the title and function of a very well-know artwork, Bruce Nauman's Walk with Contrapposto, to provide a way to articulate our experience of a simultaneous "here and there", of physically being on one place, while thinking of another.

The title of Nauman's work translates, literally, as 'contrast', or 'opposing place' and comes from a life-model pose, where body-weight is shifted onto one leg to relax the opposite hip. Here, I play on this idea of a shift from one place to another, from here to there, whether our body is walking within the corridor, while our mind wanders elsewhere.

This work involves walking with participants along a corridor at the George Brown College Waterfront Campus, talking about other places. This venue becomes a "performance corridor" – which makes a particular art historical reference to Nauman, and a link to research that I've undertaken previously on the interactions between walking and the recollection of mobility.

Nauman's Performance Corridor

When I first became interested in walking as an artistic technique, I was inevitably drawn to Bruce Nauman's early performances. We see the artist moving in various exaggerated ways around his studio, making the bare minimum of "marks" that constitute an artwork.

In Walk with Contrapposto, Nauman moves through a simple corridor structure made from "wallboard" panels – the material from which many studios, as subdivisions of larger architectural spaces, are constructed. Nauman strikes a 'contrapposto' pose -shifting his weight from side-to-side, in the manner of a life-model.

Nauman also used this Performance Corridor in a series of subsequent performance and video art works, operating as a constraint to body-movement, and to focus attention on the artist's or participants' performance between its walls.

Contrapposto corridor

Initially, I had intended to construct a version of Nauman's "performance corridor" with Construction Engineering students at another George Brown College campus. The corridor would use same dimensions as the original (8 feet x 20 feet x 1 foot 8 inches) and similar materials (unfinished drywall & timber).

(Photo of the original corridor is courtesy Photo © 2018 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

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