Walk Cycles / Water Cycles

“REC1: For the next few moments you will be able to witness a moment from another time, from the recent past. Your walking partner is making the shift, but you will be the observer.”

Walk Cycles / Water Cycles is an attempt to draw out and highlight the interpersonal, communal and spatial intricacies of the area surrounding the Clitterhouse Brook and the neighbouring development site. The primary mechanisms for this are play and walking, which become intertwined and used interchangeably. The title is a playful reference to this, using the game design terminology of a ‘walk cycle’ which is the looped animation needed for characters in a digital world.

The format of the book is a series of pamphlets that can be read separately from each other and in any order, to allude to the rambling nature of walking and the meandering of the Brook. Combining instructional pieces, games and narrative non-fiction texts, WC/WC opens a way into the site, and a mirror through to a parallel version of the site that exists on top of the real one.

The full text can be read at the bottom of this page.

WC/WC is the publication portion of a larger community-focused research project called Erratics. 

Erratics: Shifting urban topologies on the banks of the Clitterhouse Brook seeks to chart the development affecting the communities of the existing Clitterhouse Estate and Clitterhouse Playing Fields, and the soon-to-be completed Brent Cross Town. These areas are intersected by, and connected by the Clitterhouse Brook, which flows through the playing fields and alongside the Brent Cross Town development site.

Using the Clitterhouse Brook as a viewing platform, a field of engagement and an anchor point, the following work examines the parallel velocities of change that are taking place within the same space, often in conflict with each other; that of the community-led development of Clitterhouse Playing Fields – through which the Brook flows – and the regeneration headed by large scale, topologically abstracted corporate entities. These velocities of change are propelling the area into a future (or series of futures) that will benefit different interested groups to varying levels and at different points across the timespan, and as different goals are reached the landscape will change yet again, altering how the communities involved (those already existing, and those yet to become embedded in the urban landscape) can take ownership of their surroundings. Importantly, this change is happening right now, and through charting these movements, a document of community action and personal need can be created. Hopefully it will become part of a wider library of texts that aim to capture what is happening before it becomes ratified as history, as who knows who will be the one to write that monolith.

Using interactive writing and reading techniques (branching narrative, ludic writing, game-making, map-making) Erratics will situate audiences within the local setting, inviting them to inhabit the communal feelings and somatic responses of the communities affected by the changing topology. Through playful writing and game-making, Erratics aims to welcome the local community into new avenues for discourse. The text is situated knowingly – in that there is already a significant grassroots movement, led by long-standing and well embedded members of the community, working towards preserving community spaces and the green landscape of the area – and with a care to not insert itself as any kind of definitive text or hard answer to the issues overshadowing the area. Taking inspiration from the community creation of Thandi Loewenson’s A Weird Tender and the speculative cartography of Avery Alder’s A Quiet Year, Erratics serves to present a new space for utopian thinking, both as a call for intimate radical change and as a guidebook for communal resilience.

The work will be centred around a suite of invitations for the audience to investigate the site through playful instructions/interventions. The artist’s book, Walk Cycles/Water Cycles, interweaves narrative nonfiction pieces charting the area, a series of games (light LARP style pieces and lyric games) to be played on site, and poetic sequences exploring the future of the area through fantastical dreaming. The live intervention invites participants to visit the site in pairs or groups to play out a site-specific map-making/future-mapping game. This will be documented and expanded on through the video work, using a semi-fantastical narration to frame the game actions as a ritual for future-mapping.

Through this ludic structure, Erratics aims to position itself outside the traditional sphere of academic text, and questions the methodologies that academia presents to investigate the changes to literal and temporal topographies surrounding a local community.