Image: B_Tour Festival Leipzig, Jana Nowak Photography – 2015.
“The Strange Half-absence of Wandering at Night” – A Talk / An Audio Walk by Johanna Steindorf
In this audio walk the participants accompany a female protagonist into a park at dawn. She embodies the spirit of fictional and real women* that fought for the right of walking about freely and thereby challenged the restrictions and conventions of their time and culture. The audio track mixes narratives, text passages, music and field recordings, as well as fragments of movie soundtracks and – dialogues. This audio walk was developed from an extensive research on the question whether there was a female flâneur (some call her the flâneuse) and from the attempt to transport this inquiry into the present day.
The artistic work addresses the act of walking as a female political gesture of freeing oneself of standards and conventions, it enquires on the spaces that walking at night still evoke to this day.
While the participants walk through the park, the day turns into night. The perception of the surrounding area changes with the arrival of darkness, which is also a topic within the audio walk: (How) Can the fears and restrictions attached to this situation be overcome? And wouldn’t it be possible for the darkness, instead of causing a sense of threat and fear, to pose a sense of freedom and protection? These and other questions are addressed with the help of several text by authors and scholars such as Virginia Woolf, Griselda Pollock, Rebecca Solnit and many others. Clips from different movies, such as Maya Derens “Ashes of the Afternoon”, Agnes Vardas “Cleo de 5 à 7” and William Wylers “Roman Holiday” are collaged to other sonic elements and text passages written by the artist herself.
The audio walk is conducted at dawn in a park, participants are equipped with headphones, portable music players and audio track. As the audio walk begins, the participants are let into the park individually with an interval of one minute between each other.
About Johanna Steindorf (DE/BR)
Johanna Steinford is a German-Brazilian media artist born in Quito, Ecuador and currently living and working in Cologne, Germany. She grew up in various countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America, a fact that has greatly influenced her work. In Germany since 2006, she has been working with participative performances, audio, photography and video. Often using narrative and mobile strategies, her work focuses on the subject of migration, nomadism, gender and walking. She holds a bachelor’s degree from PUC-Rio de Janeiro in Visual Communication and a diploma from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. At the moment, she is a Ph.D. candidate and scholarship holder at the Bauhaus-University Weimar’s Media Arts department. There, she is researching on the artistic strategy of the Audio Walk and its relationship to the subjects of gender and migration.