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piece is called Night Walk because many times after dinner I would
wander into the darkness, walking as deeply as possible, against
my fears, into the forest. A forest is a very dark place under the
stars, filled with memories of mythic tales, and every sound that
a squirrel or mouse makes frightens you. Logically I know that I’m
safe but it is impossible for your body not to respond physically
to the rustling leaves. Your instincts force you to retreat back
into the light. Because of all of this fear I think it became my
most violent and scary walk.¬ One night while staying there I
also had a very strange, physical dream of someone trying to pry
open my mouth, and I decided to work with the idea of night walking
as a metaphor for dreaming and drowning.
sound of walking around room, sound of music
box, ominous, weird
Janet I awoke again with the
feeling that my mouth was slowly being opened. In my half sleep my
jaw struggled to close but insistent fingers seemed to open it again.
people believe that ghosts enter your body through your mouth while
sound of man singing in distance
Janet I open my eyes and
look over to see a man asleep beside me. His arm above his head, his
skin glowing from the moonlight. I lean over and cover his mouth and
nose with my hand and watch his body struggle to breath. I take my
hand away quickly so that he won’t wake up.
sound of trees blowing
Older Woman There is a
woman who still wanders here, night after night searching through the
dark forest, following her lover’s footsteps, listening for his
sound of crickets loud, sound of someone moving
Janet A red stake in the
ground. A bright red leaf. A rubble pile like in every forest. sound
of man singing
Older Woman She
thinks that he comes here to love another woman but his words are only
songs to the wind.
Janet Moss-covered cement blocks.
Older Woman She saw the torches approaching
through the trees. Men on horses were riding towards her.
sound of horses running etc, scary music
Older WomanRealizing her mistake she raced
through the bushes to find him. Thinking that she was a wild animal he threw
his spear towards her, hitting her in the chest.
sound of bullfrogs by lake
Janet It’s night again. I’m
standing by the lake, listening to the frogs talk. Each one separate but their
voices creating a whole world for themselves. There’s a plane flying over
in the night sky. One small blinking light amongst all of the stars.
and I first experienced Janet’s work at the Skulptur. Projekte
in Münster in 1997. After arriving back in the U. S., we contacted
Janet and invited her to our country home, Buckhorn, which is located
in Pound Ridge, New York. Janet arrived with George and stayed with
us for the weekend. They wandered all over the 15 acres of property
that contains both manicured areas and woods. Janet also went down
to the local historical society, because she wanted to get a sense
of the history of the area as well as to see if there were any local
myths that could be used for the story she was writing for the walk.
the next three years, Janet came periodically for weekends with George,
but sometimes alone, and walked around the property carrying a severed
head with earphones attached to its ears. Occasionally, she enlisted
my assistance to produce noise by walking through autumn leaves,
or she prevailed upon Sherry to gather up all of the grandchildren
to run and laugh simultaneously. The walk, which meanders through
the woods, is approximately twelve minutes long and is best done
at dusk. The illusions inspired by the myriad voices seem to be more
real and surreal as the light begins to fade. We have shared our
walk with many of our friends and visitors from the art world, all of
whom have fallen under the spell woven by Janet and George.
|***The tracks must be listened with headphones for the full 3-D
Audio walk, 15:40
Curated by Joel and Sherry Mallin.
Pound Ridge, New York, USA