- an exemplary model intended for the use of others
In the summer of 2007 Anoushka Athique, Katie Etheridge and Phil Smith worked together for a few weeks in an attempt to realise an experimental idea.
Machinoeki are walking stations pioneered in Japan –
They are a variation on michinoeki (petrol stations) for walkers.
In an attempt to wed the functional structure of the machinoeki to the theory of mythogeography, in the context of the mobilities paradigm (only partly taken seriously), the project sought to set the ‘station’ in motion, to mobilise the hub of supply, contact and navigation.
The 2007 Mobile Machinoeki project was intended as an exemplary experiment rather than establishing an industrial model. The artist-walkers involved did not attempt to establish a structure for immediate exploitation, but rather sought an ‘ideal’ practice – and that is now for others to seize upon.
Their experiment had four phases:
First, the ‘artist-walkers’ walked together for a week of drifts. See the Starter Kit.
Second, they each had a week to create their own walk/performance – for which they could call on the help of their colleagues. See the texts of these walks.
Third, they drew from both their exploratory walks and their walk/performances in order to create a touring performance which they took to pubs, cafes, a tent, a gallery, etc.
Fourth, they drew from the experiences of their walks and performances to develop a ‘kit’ or mobile station which they carried with them for a week, along with a very provisional ‘text’ as the loose basis for their engagements with those whom they met on a series of journeys, both arranged and spontaneous. See the provisional text and some photographs.
The events celebrated, and the imagery deployed, in the various phases are not offered here for imitation or historiography, but rather as a prod to action, revulsion, rejection and détournement. If there is any virtue in the experiment, it is in revealing a reflexivity and flexibility. These should be stretched to extremes.