Abstract: NO MANIFESTO for Walking - Phil Smith

Where to: Phil Smith

An anti-manifesto for a walking that answers 'no' to the question "Are the resistances of walking over-stated?"

What are we resisting?

Savilian space, the Spectacle, the assault on holey space, the invasion of inner life by digital linguistic automatisms, and an exclusionism so rampant and vicious it is invisible.

How do we walk in resistance?

Super-sensitized. In situational-dérives combining lay geographies and ambulant architectures. By taking back the surplus value of pleasure taken from us. By multiplying and dispersing tactics and exemplary walks (huge leap made in this regard in the last 15 years). Celebrating occult psychogeography and burying ripperology. Embracing performance at the junction of art and the everyday. Destabilising gender and identity; practising 'sissy' walking and other transgressions, creating a 'stir' in which things change. Overtaking romanticism, multiplicity not authenticity. Making epic walking relational.

By changing who is walking. Where is everyone else? Spreading the offer of free pleasure to those who have lost most to capital.

By saying NO to those who use psychogeography for business or turn psychogeography into a business.

Establishing our own World Brain of ambulatory texts, a political education on legs, an evolving canon against weapons. Creating a massive art of memory, using the everyday world as our reminders, and exemplary walks to freedom, inside and out.

Creating a fictional organisation allowing us each to organise ourselves individually under the same phantom banners.

Finally, by acknowledging that the real problem is walking itself and to challenge its normativity: the revolution will be slow, which means that we need to learn to crawl before we can fully enjoy the edge where walk becomes dance.


Phil Smith (Crab Man, Mytho) is a performance-maker, writer and ambulatory researcher. He specialises in creating performances related to walking, site-specificity, mythogeographies and counter-tourism. A core member of site-based arts collective Wrights & Sites. He has recently been working on inter-disciplinary performances with Jane Mason on her Life Forces project, with choreographer Siriol Joyner on description performances for visually impaired audiences and in a pilot project for creating actions for spaces of subjectivity with choreographer Melanie Kloetzel. Recent performance work includes Blind Ditch's This City's Centre and Signs and Wonders with Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti. His books include Walking's New Movement (2015), On Walking, Enchanted Things (both 2014), Counter-Tourism: The Handbook, A Sardine Street Box of Tricks (both 2012) and Mythogeography (2010) (all Triarchy Press) and as a co-writer Walking, Writing and Performance (2009, Intellect). He is an associate professor (reader) at Plymouth University.