An invitation to join an UrbanStory (non)violent walk.
Compared to many cities in the world Greater London is peaceful and relatively non-violent place. Within the city their is a mixed and complicated picture in which some people feel constantly at threat while others rarely consider their personal safety. It is the stories of violence and not peace that fill the time and space in the media and for this reason our understanding and sense of our safety is distorted (sometimes for better and sometimes for worse).
Maps can reveal the lie of cultural landscapes in the same way that spot heights and contours show the shape of physical land. These maps can be used to explore the peaks, valleys, ridges, cliffs and islands of issues that exist in and influence our lives.
UrbanStory is a new project that I am leading to physically explore, social, economic, political and environmental issues and themes. Using current data and mapping I will plan walks through (non)violent, (un)healthy, (un)creative and other ‘hidden’ landscapes that I hope you will join.
The first walk will focus on the theme of (non)violence. The route will be based on the latest data from the London Ward Atlas and the Metropolitan Police Crime Mapping and websites. With amongst the lowest recorded violent crime recorded it will probably start in one of the sub-wards of Cranham in East London and finish in St James’s Park (outside Buckingham Palace) in St James’s ward which has the highest rate of recorded violence against the person in London.
Taking place on Monday 11th July this 35km walk will take about 7 hours, but this will depend on the needs of the group. We will meet at a train station close to the start of the walk for about 11am.
If you would like to take part in this UrbanStory (non)violent walk please contact me here.
I enjoy listening to music and sounds to intentionally evoke feelings about a place. On the London Underground I will sometimes use my iPhone to record one place only to intentionally listen to it another. Doing this can be highly disorienting to the point where ‘phantom’ sounds force me to stop and make sense of what’s reality. It’s not too different from being in a shop and being apologetic to a mannequin.
Most recently I’ve taken to listening to the soundtrack of Sunshine while navigating the tube. Directed by Danny Boyle the score for the film was created in collaboration between John Murphy and Underworld (who I understand improvised much of it while watching the film). This is essentially a sci-fi horror film about an attempt to stop the Sun from going out by flying a nuclear bomb into it. For those on the ship that will deliver the bomb the journey is far from easy. As the brightening ‘sunshine’ grows so does its beauty, draw and intensity.. but bad things happen on Icarus II, not least the trauma of dealing with the remains of Icarus I, which led the previous and failed mission. This is a tense and psychological film and the soundtrack reflects this.
Stepping into the underground, descending the escalators, boarding a train and listening loud to tracks like ‘Kanada’s Death’ and ”Pinback Slashes Capa” can be more the unsettling. While I know that I’m in a relatively safe environment the whispers, tense chords and creeping acoustics always force me to tighten up. Underground trains are essentially spaceships that journey through dark space and eventually into sunshine.. they move in and contain political spaces that exist to provide freedom but have been exploited to instill fear through violence.
While the score for the film has been composed for something (un)real it has a very real impact on my (un)enjoyment of travel and one that I suggest you give a try…
This new blog is my latest (mis)adventure. Over coming posts I will share my explorations and experiments in experiencing, rethinking, recording and (re)presenting our worlds.