The Harlequin Wander #2

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A different day, a different wander. And why not?

For our second Harlequin Wander, we again met on the steps of the Whitney Museum over near the Hudson River in Manhattan. I’d say the wander officially began with us sitting on the steps, propped on elbows, heads dropped back and eyes closed. The sun, after endless days behind clouds, was beating into us.

We took the beating. We needed it. We deserved it. And why not? We’re human, right?

Then, our one walker who showed up to join us (K.J.!) pulled out some Walt Whitman and struck a strong tone by reading the following:

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.

I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me.

After this, hopped up on sun ray lashings and Whitman word chantings, we departed the steps towards no/any/where.

Beginning to Wander is not much of anything. There’s no real noteworthy intention with regards to the actual walking or direction. What speed do we walk at? How am carrying myself in my body? It’s not entirely aimless, the wander, because there are others doing it, and we are doing it together. So there needs to be some type of communication, whether it be with words or gesture. It may be quite subtle. When do we speed up, slow down, stop? Does conversation propel us forward or arrest us midstep?

In the case of Harlequin Wander #2, the beginning was a quick jot across the street because I saw something over there I wanted us to look at. I knew where we were going and approximately when we’d get there. 45 seconds later, we were there.

I didn’t take a photo of the map that was taped to a building. But, I did catch this in the eye of the camera.

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And then we kept wandering. We saw lots of flower bunches being carried around, lots of people gathered and sitting eating food in restaurants. Our conversation wandered into and out of words.

There was a tired moment on a bench and we saw this great vehicle. A Landcruiser. Something that would do well on the open road. I took a photo but it didn’t really turnout. What do you think?

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We wandered onward.

The wander took a turn when the hunger and thirst set in. This gave the wander some direction, a sense of searching with purpose. There was talk of “the best matcha” in the neighborhood and “a bite”. I didn’t know there was a best matcha. I was intrigued by a place that was giving some unwandering attention to that potent powder. Then, as casually as it arrived, the urge passed. Our minds wandered away and we began to stroll a bit more, hunger and thirst passing for a bit.

In reconnecting to the act of walking and wandering and stepping, the street led us to an avenue. It felt like we just stepped out of the woods and into city life. The avenue was bustling with energy. This stopped us a bit and we talked about the most dangerous intersection in Manhattan, and oh look, there’s the matcha place right on it’s corner.

A seven corner intersection. And a matcha bar. We wandered inside.

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People were drinking green. I said I’d like something hot, without milk, and with matcha. He gave me a matcha americano. K.J. ordered some white tea. And we decided to eat something. So we ate little spheres of nuts with apricots, coconut, chocolate.

We sat at the bar. We let the power of the nibbles and tea fuel our continual wandering, now seated, and with a window view.

 

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The Harlequin Wander #1

Harlequin

This walk is an activity from ITGLOWS that fits into our category of work entitled: Things To Do With Large Groups of People Who Do and Do Not Know Each Other (or as a solo).

The guiding structure of the walk is to meet at a common point, and from there, wander, collectively making decisions about where to go and how to get there, if anywhere. The group, the individual, and the city structure itself, all play a part in deciding the course of the wander.

I did it today as a solo because no one else came out to walk. It felt fine to hold the space of wandering in the city. I looked at the city infrastructure, I passed by an empty car garage that had some paintings hanging in it, I looked up, I looked down, I stepped over things and scooched by other things. Sometimes I wandered into the street and on down the street, off of the sidewalk. I carried with me a copy of Macbeth, and at some point I flipped it open and read over the following brief monologue:

Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious,
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.
The expedition of my violent love
Outrun the pauser reason. Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin laced with his golden blood,
And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature
For ruin’s wasteful entrance; there the murderers,
Steeped in the colours of their trade, their daggers
Unmannerly breeched with gore. Who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make’s love known?

I read it silently, out loud, and out loud in Italian. (The copy I had with me was a dual language one given to me by K.J. back in 1/09 (For Keith From Italy to you. amore Kj))

There was a moment when I thought I would take a photo and post it to instagram as part of the Jane’s Walk event happening this weekend. When I tapped into the app on my phone, the power went from 90 percent to shutting off. So I put my phone away and wandered on. Tomorrow I’ll bring a film camera and maybe someone (if someone, anyone show’s up to walk) will take a photo and do the whole media posting thing.

It felt great to truly wander the streets. To look at buildings, people, in windows, at clouds, into nothingness. To hear chatter and traffic and clang of infrastructure in use. To peek in alleys, to notice the flowers and their falling petals, to touch old brick buildings in the west village of manhattan, then to taste a cookie from a shop and eat up every crumb.

Tomorrow, another wander. A collective urban drift. With what, to where, who knows?