Walking the Edge
Original 520 mile route, mapped January 2020
A walk is a multitude of thoughts, felt through the rhythm of the body in motion. Walking the Edge was originally designed to be a participatory event inviting New Yorkers to encounter and reflect up on New York City’s 520 miles coastline, to embody the reality between solid and liquid, constructed and unconstructed worlds. This 24-hour-a-day consecutive walk was designed to discover the ground truth of the waterfront: its functions, paths, and impasses.
Though the pandemic shutdown foreclosed the possibility of large-scale public group gatherings, it amplified the original goals of this project: to move through space with attention and reflection. As New Yorkers took to their sidewalks one by one, Walking the Edge transformed into a weekly series of artist’s prompts for individual walkers, inspired by engagements with the artist’s own waterfronts.
Sample posts, clockwise from top left: Sunk Shore (Clarinda Mac Low & Carolyn Hall), Reijin Leys, K'amau Ware, Nicki Berger
Staged in weekly takeovers of the Works on Water Instagram account, this archive tracks a variety of strategies to inhabit and simultaneously reflect upon the shared relationship to public space during covid, including the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement upon the brutal deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. From May to October, artists employed meditation, dance, costumes and props, history, and futuring as means to focus public attention and reflection on the water through lenses of race, disability, identity, access, and climate change.
A collaboration between Works on Water, Culture Push and the New York City Department of City Planning