3rd of August

About Participation.
A couple came by the other day and said that they have been walking the path many times now. They want to help to keep the trail open. I thanked them and I really appreciate their initiative. Then they said that the line is very narrow and hard to follow. I said that they can widen the path to their liking. I think I heard some hesitation in their answer. Maybe we came very close to a limit between participation and creation, if there is a division between those. Between following a line and the responsibility of shaping a line. Sure, there is a difference. But is participation limited to following some rules put up by someone else (the artist)? No, I don’t think so. So they do participate when they walk the line? Yes, they participate, they contribute to the result. Do they create? Yes, they consciously shape the path.

Maybe there is no division…

About visibility
Due to the heavy rain the vegetation is growing fast and strong. I like it when the path is just grass laying down instead of a muddy trail with grass at the sides. And I want to avoid doing unnecessary damage to the plants I step on. When I saw the site for the first time I reacted with a thought that this place needs something big. Then I realized the opposite. This place is perfect for a piece of art which operates on a more intimate scale. There is not much going on visually in the surroundings. It is almost a white box (white box = typical gallery space for art) or rather a green box if you like. So I followed that thought about making something not so visually obvious which demands some attention from its viewer.

Barely visible

18th of July

A man came by and said he had been looking for the trail earlier on (he had read the text on the nearby signpost) but couldn’t find it. The path is almost invisible sometimes, depending on the distance to it, the light conditions at that moment as well as the growth on site, so one has to look carefully after the pathway. I showed him the trail and then we came to talk about statistics. He referred to a fun video on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNboV7Uhg-8 which shows some monkeys (stand-ins for people) who are partying on the results of their efforts in the company, represented as a nice ascending sales curve on a board. Another colleague comes in (a man, I just wonder why?) and says that the board is oriented wrongly and turns it right, now showing that the sales are down. The man leaves and after that the monkeys turn the board back again and continue to party.

The temperature affects us in our everyday life. The mean temperature affects the climate on a larger scale and only graspable and visible in very long time spans. The temperatures here in Löddeköpinge right now are quite cool but just a couple of days ago the mean temperature on this planet reached an all time high.

I think about walking in many different ways. The controlled modes that I have explained, and now I come to thinks of the variants that Harry Dean Stanton performs in the movie Paris, Texas.  Especially his walking in the desert, towards some imagined horizon. I try to desert walk like Dean Stanton at the site. It is a very different way and I’m going to investigate that walking mode further. I realize that I always keep my eyes on the ground (control) but his eyes are fixed to the horizon. Walking is the future. The trail is history, the record. I now realize why demonstrators walk. It’s about the future.

7th of July

A lot of walking today, 10 500 steps. It’s interesting that so much is happening with the growth after the rainy days. A lot of different flowers are in bloom. I have extended the path today. I have also added another loop. Many people have asked why there is a loop (now there are two) and what is its connection to temperature? I don’t have a clear answer to that. I guess I want the trail to be, not a temperature curve, but an indication of how high or low the temperature is. More to come on this…

5th of July

After a long period of draught and hot, sunny weather, there has been a lot of heavy rain. It affects the trail in different ways. The grass gets green and wants to grow of course, and I experience a lot of energy and resistance from the plants. It demands more walking from me to maintain the path. The humidity has also changed the ground in the path a bit. There is only mud in some parts of the path now but there are also many plants which grow in the pathway.

I also saw today that the edges have become a bit ragged. I realized today that I need to be very meticulous to maintain the shape of the edges. It became a new walking fashion, I can call it contouring. I use the left edge of the shoes soles to land the outer edge of the sole exactly on the edge of the path. When I go in the other direction and still keep my focus on the left side, the other side of the pathway will be contoured as well.

28th of June

When I walk fast I go with the flow. When I come to the end of the line I go a little bit further, a bit like if braking, slowing down is not part of the (drawing of) the line. The line (and the making of the line) consist of that movement which is the walk. Slowing down is not, so it happens outside of the area where the line is supposed to be (..come). A somewhat similar thing happens when I prolong the line in new, un-walked grass. I know where the line is going to stop, but to make that happen I have to walk a little bit further. It makes me wonder if drawing by walking on grass is a question of saturation. It can be compared with drawing with a pencil on a very heavy embossed paper. To make a mark on such a surface, leaving graphite only on the tops, one has to draw the pencil a little bit further than where the line is supposed to end.

27th of June

People come by to talk. They see me walking back and forth. They read the text on the signpost and I say Hello. Today a retired construction worker and his wife said people should play and have more fun. I reckon they considered my work as play. Good! They walked the trail with me. A woman with two small girls came by and the girls walked the line back and forth many times. After a while they started to make somersaults along the trail. They were very busy and energetic. The mother said the trail reminds her of a mandala kind of structure she had encountered at a retreat of some kind. And that’s maybe the flow I’m thinking of. Walking it takes me into a certain kind of concentration. So, drawing is movements, right? Different movements.

Little girl walks the path

24th of June

Ways of walking

People ask me, How do you walk? Maybe a strange question, a simple answer would be that I just walk. But that isn’t entirely true. It is a good question. I realize that I walk in several different ways or modes.

The aim is to make marks by walking. I walk naturally with a gap between my feet of approximately 10 centimeters. That makes a trail which is about 26-32 centimeters wide. This is the general mode I use when I walk. But I also want to make parts of the trail narrower. Then I walk with a foot just in front of the other which makes a trail that vary in width from 6-12 centimeters. It is two very different ways of walking.

Usually, when I start a walking session, I walk with my concentration on the ground. I’m very cautious about where to put my feet to make the trail I want. After a while I know where to put them and then I start to walk much faster. Then I just walk, with a flow. It’s necessary to walk fast or I will not get finished. I know where to put my feet. Some plants pop up and kind of say; I’m here so don’t put your feet on me. So I don’t. The trail develops in an organic way in that sense. I can see that the trail gets deeper in the curves than in the straighter parts of the path. It gets deeper probably because the shoes are put at an angle in the curves.
I get the flow but then I meet some resistance when it comes to new parts of the line. The line is prolonged every week with some half a meter. When I come to this new part to be walked, I have to stop up and walk very differently, to be able to find the new direction for that new part. I have no guide, just an idea of where the new middle temperature point is to be placed. That’s where I shall go, and I walk there seeking my steps. It’s just half a meter, maybe that’s the difficult thing. And it differs.

What’s this?

I am on a patch of grass in a residential area in Löddeköpinge, Sweden. I walk.

A passing man in his prime says the following: ”I have lived here in Löddeköpinge all my life. On this patch of grass, nothing has ever happened”.

The man is right, nothing is happening here. Or? Maybe he’s wrong after all, because there’s a lot going on here. He came by with his dog, for example. It may not be world news that unfolds here, but there are plenty of small everyday events. Children play on the playground. Pupils are heard from the nearby schools. People ride bikes. Many people walk their dogs here. People walk. Just like I do.

Bigger things have happened too. The Sjöbo railway’s route has gone right here. During World War II, Danish Jewish refugees arrived at Barsebäcksstrand and were transported further inland by rail. Perhaps they looked out at the landscape right here, a glimpse of freedom, but at the same time with a concern about what was left behind and the uncertainty of the future. Löddeköpinge has for centuries been a hub, a place of trade where many sought or passed through from different directions. They have followed roads or formed new paths.

As a visual artist, I mainly work with drawing. In this work I draw by walking. I walk over the surface of the ground until a path forms, i.e. a line. That’s what a drawing artist does, draws lines. The stretch forms an approximately 40-meter-long crooked track that contrasts with a smoothly curved, invisible curve along which five plane trees are planted on the site. The track shows the average temperature in Löddeköpinge every week, from January and on. Where the line is close to the trees, it was colder during that period, and if the line is further from the trees, it was warmer during that period. Going forward, I will extend the length of the curve with the past week’s average temperature. I will do it until the beginning of November, when the exhibition period ends. After that, the path will slowly disappear.

I walk on and off until a trail forms. The place is a flat, square lawn about 100 x 70 meters with five plane trees on it. The surface I step on is laid out along the five trees and is approximately 40 x 15 meters.

Plane trees provide shade and coolness and are therefore popular during hot summer days in more southern latitudes. Temperatures affect us and the climate in different ways. This work relates to data in the form of measured temperatures, but the values are used to ask questions about being in the world. Living necessarily means leaving a mark. Sometimes the traces are clear, sometimes they are barely visible. Perhaps the line drawn by walking is an attempt to embody time, both past and future. The future is always partly uncertain. It suits the investigative and generative nature of this work. The work literally grows gradually, based on what has been. Finally, after the exhibition period, the track will slowly disappear. Nature’s vegetation eventually takes over.

The wanderer’s dilemma – drawing by walking

A site-specific installation by Bjørn Wangen. I draw by walking until a path is formed, i.e. a stroke or line. That’s what a drawing artist do, draws lines. The route forms a long winding track. The curve is based on the mean temperature at the site, on a weekly basis from January 2023 and on. I will extend the length of the trail each week until the end of the exhibition period in November 2023. After that, the trail will slowly disappear.

The work can be hard to see at a distance. Follow this map on Google and you’ll find it:

This site-specific work is part of [X]sites, an international land art project with art made by artists at different sites along bicycle trails at the Swedish west coast.

Path meandering over grass