Students Staff

08 November 2013

Walking the Metropolis at firstsite in Colchester

Leading writers, artists and curators are coming together to talk about the work of Francis Alÿs at firstsite in Colchester on Friday  8 November. 

The symposium hosted at firstsite will look Alÿs’ seminal projects, Seven Walks, which is on display at art exchange - the gallery at the University's Colchester Campus.

A long-time resident in Mexico, Alÿs recurrently explores walking as a foundation for his artistic practice. Often presented in the gallery space as video and archive documentation, these walks focus on ephemeral experiences and forms of labour which encompass the grandiose When Faith Moves Mountains in which a thousand people moved a sand dune in Lima and the small scale Paradox of Praxis which witnesses Alÿs pushing an ice block through the streets of Mexico City until it melts.

Seven Walks, staged in London during 2004-5. Commissioned by Artangel, these walks present Alÿs working in a very different geographical location and therefore potentially a very different social and political situation. Assembling a line-up of major speakers, this symposium is a multifaceted investigation that brings to light its artistic and political significance both within Alÿs’ oeuvre and a wider constellation of relevant contexts.

Chaired by Dawn Ades (University of Essex), speakers include writer Marina Warner (University of Essex), artist Richard Wentworth, art historians TJ Demos (University College London) and Andrés Montenegro (University of Essex), and commissioner of Seven Walks, James Lingwood, Artangel and Matthew Bowman, Public Programme curator, Art Exchange.

Admission is free.

Symposium Schedule

2.00pm – Symposium begins

2.10pm – Welcome and Introduction by Matthew Rowe, Director of firstsite.

2.25pm  - T. J. Demos – “Francis Alÿs: Vanishing Mediator”

3.05pm – Andrés Montenegro – “Francis Alÿs: Notes Towards an Aesthetics of the Uncanny.”

3.45pm – Marina Warner – “Organic Art?: Finding Art Everyday, Everywhere.”

4.25pm – Coffee Break

4.40pm – Dawn Ades and Matthew Bowman in conversation with James Lingwood.

5.15 – Richard Wentworth-”The Gorgeous Multitasking of Walking and the Deep Pleasures of Idling”

5.55 to 6.30pm – Panel Discussion and Conclusion

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