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walk has the best ending spot we’ve ever used, the souterrain,
the underground cellar where a previous director had stored broken
statues, with their arms and heads lying scattered, forgotten. There
was also an extensive labyrinth of small tunnels that terrified me
and had been used for mining. If you followed them, you could be
The walk started in a small garden with a grove
of orange trees right outside our window in the castle. As we watched
from above, the archaeologists unearthed a tiled and frescoed room
from a lost villa that they had known was somewhere under the city
but they had only just located. I think the experience of the layering
of time in Rome led me to write a script that used a series of experiments
with time to structure the piece. It was also the first piece in
which I used the mini voice recorder as a device to form a character.
start in small orange garden, crows cawing
George taped and played from
small tape recorder in room Things have started
to disappear. This morning my shoes were missing..
found his voice recorder in my suitcase. This machine has become him
now, his words floating like a ghost in front of me. I want you to
walk with me. I need to show you something. Try to walk with the sound
of my footsteps so that we can stay together. Go through the doorway
in the wall to the right … past the iron gate, then go to the
sound of car
Janet It’s a great
view of the Villa, the gardens ... the statues of the defeated
Barbarians. The fountains.
sound of water starts. sound changes
to fire crackling, bombs, helicopter
George static noise The
building is crumbling, fire coming out of the windows. The tall pines
look like giant torches in the night.
Janet Experiment no 1. Cut
100 snowflakes out of paper. Go to the top of the tower and throw them
off, one at a time.
Janet Let’s walk again. Go towards
the stone steps.
Janet whispered Experiment no
3. Sit in a church and watch the light move across the wall. sound of
Latin mass, walking in church
Janet Go to the left.
George When did it happen, or perhaps
I just dreamt it. Some mornings when I wake up you’re beside me and some mornings you’re
Janet whispered Experiment
no 4. Inscribe your lover’s name into
a wall. See which will last longer, your love or the words.
Janet Go to the right.
The bodies were buried just on the other side of this wall. A man is spraying
the tennis courts with water. There’s grass sticking out of the bricks.
Too bad it’s so loud here because of the traffic.
George I woke up this
morning and everything was gone. The house had disappeared, crumbled, just a
pile of stones around me.
Janet Walk through the gate, then to the right. Turn
to the right along the road.
Janet I remember a long laneway where
I used to walk. Now it’s buried under a field of corn.
Janet whispered Experiment
no 5. Hold your breath until you lose consciousness. sound of taking breath and
walking for about 15 seconds then my breath exhaling
Janet There’s someone
coming towards us. When I’m walking down a road like this I don’t
like to meet anyone. It’s somehow too intimate. I’ll pretend I’m
looking at something in the bush ... ‘Bonjour’
voice It’s starting, it’s happening to you
wrong, things started to dissolve a long time ago. scooter goes by
wanted to approach Cardiff after hearing about her Louisiana Museum
Walk in 1996 from my husband Cesare – he had experienced her walk
there and had told me she had a beautiful voice. I was both intrigued
and jealous. Then I saw her Playhouse installation in Berlin, and
loved it. I subsequently met George and Janet in Münster in 1997,
when they were distributing headphones to people for their walk there.
I remember feeling her walk draw me into an intimate, close relationship,
and then abruptly abandon me at the end of it in the little room.
It was a particularly difficult time for me, having lost a child
in an accident only two years earlier, and I remember being acutely
sensitive to the feeling of loss. I think we connected immediately,
because she understood the intensity of the experience I had with
Renaissance gardens of the Villa seemed like a perfect site for Janet
to create a walk. They are in a modern city, yet they are protected
from it by tall walls in a sort of hortus conclusus that also functions
as a time capsule, so that they can step into the past, right in
the middle of an urban environment. There are private areas where
the Villa residents live and public tracts that are open for promenades.
I think this juxtaposition of two different worlds intrigued her.
She was also interested in the Bosco, the ‘wilder’ part
of the traditional garden, and the myth of the wilderness. George
and Janet lived in the Villa for a period of several months.
often ask how Cardiff ’s
walks transform the places they occur. Of course there are changes,
but not more or less than any other element such as weather, time
of day, or season transforms the place. Cardiff ’s walks heighten
our awareness of the way that we always alter our environments with
our feelings, as we traverse them. Our memories constantly enter
into our perception of what is the ‘here and now.’ I remember
sounds of helicopters that Janet had put into the recording. I asked
her about them, and she said Rome always had helicopters hovering
above. I had never noticed that, but it is true. Now, when I walk
in Rome, I always notice the heli-copters above, and imagine the
pilots and the people above, watching over the city. It makes me
feel more vulnerable, rather than secure.
|***The tracks must be listened with headphones for the full 3-D
Audio walk, 16:22
Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Hans
Ulrich Obrist, and Laurence Bossé for the group exhibition La Ville, le
Jardin, la Mémoire. Académie de France.
Villa Medici, Rome, Italy