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The walk that never was

Or…the story of how Lucy turned up breathlessly in Rome to participate in a five day ‘research-walk’…..a month early. Errrrr.

Rome Wall

Because an email from Stalker finally arrived…. including details of a project happening that week (so I thought), Campagna Romana, a five day walk with teams of students led by scientists, artists, poets and architects from eight different locations outside Rome (autonomous towns until they were recently engulfed by the spreading city) into the centre. It marks the ten year anniversary of the first Stalker 'act', a walk around the edges of Rome, which became famous (at least in my current version of the world!) for implying that the imagination of new possibilities for the periphery also demanded different ways of mapping and perceiving them. The walk defied the traditional analytical techniques of planning and architecture in favour of a sensory, experiential approach.

An opportunity I decided I couldn’t miss!

…and because the last weekend in Berlin and the journey home had not yet been fixed ….because the fickle impulsive in me began to stir and the flights were reasonable.…because I still had a lingering curiosity about Stalker which I was loathe to abandon….. because for some reason, no matter how many times I looked at the website I still failed to read July instead of June…..because somehow the corresponding emails with Stalker were ambiguous enough to gloss over my confusion….because I waited until I got to Rome to actually call someone about it…..

…whereupon I enthusiastically confirmed with Lorenzo that I wanted to participate and asked what I needed to do. The first thing he said was ‘be here by July 10th’. I was so MORTIFIED that I didn’t say anything, just a few hmmms and oks……before hanging up the phone as quickly as possible to regain my composure.

It took a full afternoon to swallow my pride and call him back to admit that I was in the wretched city and a month early for his wretched walk. MORTIFIED especially because our correspondence has been so confused to date already. Lesson learnt: pick up the telephone once in a while…

Of course this was a much bigger catastrophe for me than him and I was duly invited to the office anyway. I turned up somewhat humbly….in an area that looks a quite different to the Rome where I had been consoling myself with gallons of gelati and espressos earlier in the day.

Ruins

Garballetta

I coincided with end-of-week drinks with Lorenzo, several interns and an American called Peter…..followed by dinner at a very German family establishment complete with hundreds of screaming kids where delicious bruschetta, steak and wine was had for seven euros….and finally a walk home through the area of Campo Boario where Stalker did a project over several years with communities of Kurds and Roma gypsies. It was dark but we sat under a full moon in a garden they created in the middle of a vast expanse of courtyard which I noticed on a map today is the only unlabelled building in the area.

So the question still remaining of course is what should I do here for five days now there’s no walk to participate in?! I hope my time will consist of bothering Stalker anyway, trying to drink up what information and stories about past and present projects I can, and perhaps doing a walk of my own...on my own! Since I have been here twice before and since their ‘field of inquiry’ is the peripheries of the city it seems appropriate that I should be there while I’m here, instead of guzzling more gelati and getting in the way of other people’s photos around the Trevi Fountain…..which is also quite tempting.

Pantheon Panormanic

FYI: the walk is open to anyone who wants to participate, a month from now! Participants choose their own method of representation and there will be an exhibition of all the compiled documentation afterwards. Go! You should! Tell me what it’s like afterwards!

Sandwich on Map
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