walks on water
2 – 9 august 2007, stromereien festival, tanzhaus zürich
Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow, as if I had given vent to the stream at the lower end and consequently new fountains flowed into it at the upper. A thousand rills, which have their rise in the sources of thought, burst forth and fertilize my brain.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal entry, 19 August 1851.
During walks on water, we spent 24 hours over the ten days of the festival walking along the banks of the Limmat, attempting to walk on water and bring the two banks together by using GPS recordings of their paths. The technique we used relied on a usually unwanted inaccuracy inherent in GPS location. If a path is reiterated many times, the lines recorded on the GPS spread due to the inaccuracy of the GPS system.
Our task was to walk on all the possible routes near the river between the Dammsteg and Kornhausbrücke for 4 hours a day over six days coinciding with the festival hours. We did not walk together during the performance, so that we could cover more ground and make more tracks. Being alone also allowed us to start a conversation with other people more easily.
One of the things that we were particularly interested in asking people about was if they might have a message for the Limmat, as if the river had a memory and could store these messages for future generations to find. At the end of the six days we made a short presentation of the collected GPS tracks and messages and anecdotes from our walks.
Each evening, the accumulated GPS tracks was shown in the festival bar and a performance presentation was given on the last evening of the festival.