What Persists Memory Walks 2022

01 Jul 2022 : Locations throughout The Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

What Persists / Memory Walks is a creative research project led by artists WeiZen Ho and Alan Schacher who invited the Blue Mountains community to share their stories of place through walking and conversation. Memory Walks is part of the artists’ 2022 Research Residency project What Persists, which is supported by Critical Path Centre for Choreographic Research, based in Sydney. What is place? What is community? In What Persists we undertake investigations of place and public space through the lens of the people who inhabit and use them, wondering in parallel how place can be engendered through community. The research process was focussed towards ways of devising a social choreography based on symbols that persist in the individual’s memory, and this part is still not complete. We are interested in sculptural and object-based motifs that could augment choreographies of processional enactments. Seeking a ‘recognition’ of essences, of diverse intersecting beliefs, we were concerned about the apparent disappearance of ritual events in our lives. What elements persist in memory and still remain remarkable in our societal and domestic spaces? What symbolic practices could bring people, place and memory together? In engaging with community members we have been asking them to identify meaningful images, materials, tasks and symbols of significance. Symbolism in this sense is a medium of community, where symbolisation and ritualisation condition one another. Employing the device of going for a walk as a potent forum for exchange, we have invited community members to guide us through their environment. Whilst walking, conversations have likewise meandered and strayed, sometimes to other times and places, to memories of departed loved ones, to suicides even, and to homesickness and longing, love of nature, identification with place. Many of the walks have demonstrated an enduring and long term relationship with the place and the natural environment, with trees, views, rock and water. In The Blue Mountains walking is nothing remarkable. People come here specifically to walk. But for our partners in Kaliurang Indonesia walking has a different intent. Like Katoomba, Kaliurang is a mountainous and touristic natural region. Positioned beneath the active volcano Mount Merapi, and similarly beginning with the letter ‘K’ Kaliurang sits at 900 metres above sea level and Katoomba at 1,000 metres. There is not enough space on this webpage to share all the information, which will be added to a dedicated site.

You can read WeiZen’s perspective on the process and see further documentation here: [https://www.weizenho.com/collaborations-residencies#/what-persists/]

Project Details
Dates 01 Jul 2022 to 31 Dec 2022
Duration 6 months and ongoing
Collaborators WeiZen Ho, Alan Schacher, Phillip Mar, Mella Jaarsma, Mira Asriningtyas
Producer Critical Path
Category research

Lead Artists : WeiZen Ho and Alan Schacher / Cultural Researcher : Phillip Mar

Indonesian Partners, based in Kaliurang, Jogyakarta : Visual Artist: Mella Jaarsma / Cultural Researcher & Curator: Mira Asriningtyas

Producer for Critical Path : Jasmine Lee Gulash / Cultural Development Coordinator, Blue Mountains City Council : Katrina Noorbergen

Thanks to Alan’s walkers: Stephen Adams, Ash Baker, John Baylis, Amy Bell, Yuri Bolotin, David Brazil , Gabriel de Campo, Des Devlin , Melanie Eden, Terry Hayes , Sean O’Keefe, Tim K. Jones, Robert Hanly, Julie Klein Humphries , Leura Walk for Heart Group, Jerel Mani , Phillip and Roman Mar, Mid Mountains Men’s Walk and Talk Group, Mid Mountains Walk for Heart Group, David Mills, Jasmine Payget and Laurie, Alex Salter, Michael Shirley, Springwood Mens Walk and Talk, Christine Stickley and Ross Bridle, Sherise Watson and Jen McPherson, David Wardman, Miriam Williamson, George Winston, Brad Young

The artists led a workshop at Springwood Theatre attended by participants : Tim K Jones, Jerel Mani, Christine Stickley, Jia-wei Zhu with Mella Jaarsma contributing online.

An artists’ talk was presented and followed by an artist-led silent community procession, both enacted as part of Stomping Ground, a community event at Springwood Hub and Community Theatre on 17 September 2022. This event was funded under the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Arrangements in association with Blue Mountains City Council through Blue Mountains Theatre and Blue Mountains City of the Arts.

Talk and Procession Video: Sam James /

Event & Procession Photography: Karlina Mitchell / Maja Baska

Walks Photography: Alan Schacher, David Brazil, WeiZen Ho