Austrian walking artist, Michael Höpfner, will walk and re-walk a 30-mile circuit around the Aberdeenshire town of Huntly over 14 consecutive days from tomorrow, 25 November 2012. Remaining outside throughout the period the artist will negotiate with different farms, cottages or other dwellings about pitching his tent each night.
Walking Off the Grid will lead the hiker into an unknown land, meeting unknown people and creating a new experience of time. Through the walk the artist aims to recreate the socio-geography of the locus, collecting stories and memories from the local people whilst adding his own reflections on the landscape.
The artwork is driven by the question of how to leave standardized images and a prefabricated world, as increasingly experienced on laptop screens, and exchange it for a geography drawn of personal stories and memories of communities. Höpfner will document his experiences through series of black and white photos, on analogue film and in written diaries he carries with him. These will form the basis of an associated publication.
At the end of the walk the artist will host a public event to which people he met en route will also be invited. Social anthropologist, Tim Ingold, of the University of Aberdeen, whose research interrogates the philosophy of walking and our perceptions of landscape, will also join this event.
Höpfner’s project is the first in a year long programme, Walks of Life, which continues Deveron Arts exploration of walking art. In spring 2009 Hamish Fulton started his 21 days in the Cairngorms with a short residency at Deveron Arts and the associated book Mountain Time Human Time was published later in the year. Claudia Zeiske has also established a Walking Lunch programme of art walks in and around Huntly.
Michael Höpfner Born 1972 in Krems/Donau, Austria. Lives and works in Vienna and Berlin Since 1995 he has undertaken art walks in China, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Northern India, Nepal, South Korea, Senegal, Libya, Iceland and Scotland.