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Activating Imaginative Attention and Creating Observant Moments in the Everyday: Through the Art of Walking

Journal article
Authors Cecilia Lagerström
Published in Nordic Theatre Studies
Volume vol 27
Issue no 2
ISSN 0904-6380
Publication year 2015
Published at Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Keywords walking, physical theatre, imaginative attention, everyday poetry, listening, performative writing, artistic research.
Subject categories Arts


Since 2013, I have been conducting a collaborative project on walking together with the actress and tightrope walker Helena Kågemark, where walking has become a means for inquiry-based performing. The purpose of this project was to apply techniques and strategies from the theatre work we pursue in situations outside of the theatre on walking actions in urban spaces – in order to create attention as well as bring forth poetry in situations of everyday life. The project included a wide range of activities and events; from our own explorative walks documented through “walking journals” to participatory walks with others and public presentations of performance acts, performance lectures, discussions, workshops and exhibitions. In our project, we used physical acting techniques to create attention and meaning in situations that emerged in the streets. Our aim was to go beyond the automatic patterns of the everyday when walking through town in order to activate a way to relate to the environment and to create experience that develops both the perception and imagination of the one who walks. We chose to focus on the seemingly small and invisible stories and observations of the everyday, while actively carrying out a psychophysical walk. In this article, I would like to reflect on certain parts of the walking project in order to investigate more closely how we transferred our experience as theatre practitioners to walking activities, and in doing so, activating imaginative attention in order to create observant moments in everyday situations.

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