The Footbook of Zombie Walking
How to be more than a survivor in an apocalypse
Another fine text from the author of Mythogeography, Walking's New Movement, The Counter-Tourism Pocketbook... Phil Smith
This is a book about despair, climate change, zombie films, multiple apocalypses, the everyday, city-dwelling, zombies, walking and walk-performance, imperialism, sex, zombie literature, refugees, popular culture and zombies.
Illustrated with the author's usual, unusual photographs of the everyday zombie.
“When Humanity is fed up, then the living walk the Earth.”
“this is a very fine book and I recommend it to everyone with an interest in walking-philosophy” ~ Ewan Morrison
The Footbook is written for walkers and zombyists alike. For walkers and performance artists, drama students and urban edge-riders, it's toolkit for anyone who wants to make their every gentle step or crawl an uprising against the apocalypse and a march to real life over the remains of a spectacle.
For intelligent zombyists, it's an introduction to a whole new way of thinking about their favourite books, films and comics.
In this Footbook, Phil Smith (Mytho, Crab Man) extends his critical account of the gentle walking arts to the predatory lurch of the living dead.
The author has been a keen observer of the zombie mythos for the past 35 years, and here he draws on the mass of plots, images and metaphors that can be found swarming in zombie movies and comics. Instead of treating zombie media as a kind of parallel universe, he concentrates on the 'normality' of the zombie apocalypse - showing how zombies have been used to depict, slave labour, wage labour, the consumer, the dispossesed, the disenfranchised and the underprivileged, and then moving on to explain how much more complicated it is than that.
He uses his analysis of zombie media to set out a groundbreaking way to have presence in everyday life. Invoking slowness, fragmentary consciousness, thickness and thingness, the author describes in theory and in practice, how to walk from Night to Day and away from the old Dawn into a radical nothingness.
Drawing examples from across the spectrum of zombie media, with plenty from its margins, Phil Smith celebrates and berates the zombie; then turns it into a meditation, a manifesto, a dance score and the herald of a social movement.
Starting with the three key principles of Interiority, Carnival and an End to Ends, The Footbook of Zombie Walking offers a way back to a vital Life and an art of Living. It is the next step, beyond Mythogeography, to ending media predations, putting subjectivities back on the streets and coming to be present in everyday life.
Introduction: acting in despair
1/ the meat and potatoes ~ 2/ the body of the dead
3/ is this it? ~ 4/ canon to the right of us, canon to the left
5/ fear and feeling ~ 6/ the zombie-human: peacefully violent, individual and collective
7/ sex and the zombie ~ 8/ “I’ve seen The Darkness! It’s inside me”
9/ returning ~ 10/ a taxonomy of morbid cities
11/ la horde ~ 12/ the colonial zombie; the real myth
13/ swarm politics ~ 14/ the schism
15/ they came to fuck the dead back to life 16/ dark souls
17/ the ancient dead in ourselves – the ecological zombie
18/ the step after ~ 19/ other resources
20/ in conclusion ~ Bibliography
My walking has revealed a taxonomy of spaces gathered from movie and comic zombieland: porous bunkers, ecstatic grids, voracious courtyards, and so on. Checking and articulating the findings of my journey against zombiespace, an unstable overlaying is often suggestive of the working and shifting of social forms and structures in ‘meatworld’.
Read the full article at the Plymouth University Arts Institute website.
Also read the Taunton A-Dead here.
Over recent years I have deployed this zombie-related, paranoid walking as a means to prepare ambulatory performances. In addition to walking in relation to the walk of the living dead -- using imagined threats and a more general sense of ‘dread’ as the means to perceiving otherwise elusive patterns, textures and atmospheres -- I have begun to assemble and draw upon a taxonomy of ‘zombie spaces’ (a process I had already begun in relation to non-zombie spaces).
These are categories of monstrous space assembled from zombie movies, comics and literature (in the provisional taxonomy below they are primarily from movies), which I then use to identify particular spaces encountered on an ambulatory urban exploration; drawing on the social, political, critical-theoretical and psychological resonance of a living dead ‘mythos’ to inform the findings of a walk.
Read the full article here.