Made of Walking - Stefaan van Biesen



M A D E . O F . W A L K I N G





On this page are the contributions of Stefaan van Biesen and Annemie Mestdagh [as members of the Milena principle] for the Made of Walkings events [Delphi Greece 2017, La Romieu France 2017, Neo Chorio Akamas Cyprus 2018 and Prespes Greece 2019.


Made of Walking is organized by the Milena principle, with a series of screenings, workshops and conferences relating to walking, focussing on dialogues between performance, arts, literature and new media, inviting students, (young) artists, writers, walkers, performers, musicians and composers, sound designers, new media artist, developers, teachers, experts and scientists of different fields, to share their experiences. Projects/performances are meant for following outdoor venues. Made of Walking is curated by Geert Vermeire/the Milena principle. assisted by Annemie Mestdagh/the Milena principle & Stefaan van Biesen/the Milena principle.




2019 >




Made of Walking (V) walking bodies 2019.


Walking encounters/conference in Prespes - Greece, July 1-7 - 2019

Department of Fine and Applied Arts of the University of Western Macedonia - the Milena principle

Made of Walking (V) will be hosted by the Department of Fine and Applied Arts of the University of Western Macedonia in Greece and takes place as a joint event with the International Encounters/Conference “WALKING PRACTICES/WALKING ART/WALKING BODIES”. The International Encounters/Conference will be held in the Prespes area of Greece, an unique natural environment with two lakes (Megali Prespa and Mikri Prespa) and a perturbing history of war and displacement for almost 50 years the 20th century, it is still a place of passage today and divided by borders with Albania and FYROM (Macedonia).


The theme of “Walking bodies” refers explicitly to walking together and to groups on the move, embodiment, the nomadic process, migration, the concept of home.


Artists and walking creatives are invited to participate to a residency of a week (arrival in the village of Parades, to create an in individual project open for participation or group project involving walking exploration of the Prespes area. An exhibition with the ongoing results of these walking explorations will be realised in the new Byzantine Museum of Agios Germanos in Prespes, and will travel afterwards as a nomadic exhibition worldwide. The residency will be concluded with a three day international conference (5-7 July) in the nearby village of Lemos about walking bodies and walking arts today in general.


The encounters and exhibition are coordinated/curated by Geert Vermeire and Yannis Ziogas, rector of the Department of Arts of the University of Western Macedonia. The event will take shape in collaboration with a global scientific/artistic committee. Artists and all walking creatives are invited to apply for the residency and/or to present their work at the conference.


Arrival for the residency June 28th to Sunday June 30th till July 7th. Arrival for the conference latest afternoon July 4th. Also attendees are welcome to participate.


Registration is open from now on. Online info group sessions about the region will be organised monthly for artists/creatives desiring to prepare a specific walking project for the area.


For students limited free accomodation is available in the dormitory of the School of Fine Arts. Free camping facilities wiil be offered in the garden of the school and at the shore of the lake. Further accommodation (to be paid by the participants) available in guest rooms and hotels for prices starting at 25 euros/individual room/night. Flights to Thessaloniki and Athens, further transportation by bus/train.



More information and/or your expression of interest via personal message





[(What) The Body Knows] Made of Walking (V) Prespes Greece. the Milena principle 01.07 > 07.07.2019.


Made of Walking (V) walking bodies 2019.


Walking encounters/conference in Prespes - Greece, July 1-7 - 2019.

Department of Fine and Applied Arts of the University of Western Macedonia - the Milena principle.



The project of Stefaan van Biesen & Annemie Mestdagh:


This performative walk '(What) The Body Knows' is part of the Library of Walks that has been started by Stefaan van Biesen since 1990. From this ongoing process various applications grew, realized in Europe and Brasilia in collaboration with curator-writer Geert Vermeire. For Made Of Walking (V) in Prespes, Stefaan van Biesen, together with Annemie Mestdagh, designed a portable nomadic library that is carried by a group of participants.


The carriers become the artwork. In this way, a mental and energetic field becomes a space specific practice. They feel their togetherness and become aware of each other's physical presence, through the object/prop that they carry together and that is functioning as a 'conductor'. During walking (and breaks), they are asked to explore the surroundings with an observing alertness and to absorb the scenery.


People carrying a portable library. The slightly meandering, streamlined shape of the ultramarine blue canvas, (in ancient Greece there was no name for the colour 'blue') *1.), refers to the nearby Little Prespa lake. Also a link to the fate of refugees. While observing, participants are asked to collect items they notice on their way in the environment nearby, small significant artifacts. The pieces can be put in pet bottles (or later in glass jars), which are attached to the blue canvas. This gives the walk a ritual dimension in which a collection is created that is representative of the biotope where the action takes place. This way the natural and social identity of a place is archived, documented.


Being together in silence, carried away by a human energetic stream, walking as a sensitive experience, must lead to a collective act that sensitively reinforces the walk.

Practical, lost and found: If someone during the walk is noticing something that he wants to pick up for the collection, then the participant raises the arm to stop the group. The person next to him then will take over, holding the rope/handle for a moment. And so the object found can start to travel when the group leaves.


Intentionally this walk is an exercise focusing on our attention, awareness, creating tension and letting it go. There are also letters/stories of refugees that are part of the prop that are carried with and will be read during the walk. And for the occasional stops, the participants can add, then (or later), texts, notes, sketches, to the traveling library. * 2.)


(What) The Body Knows: refers to the human capacity to regenerate wisdom intuitively from our body: the body 'knows'!



* 1.) According to people in Greek traditional villages, blue is the color that can keep the 'evil eye' (matiasma) away.


* 2.) The glass jars can be used within a museum context for the Library of Walks exhibition. During the walk itself Pet bottles are provided / or transparent reusable environmental bags.





Walking Talking interview by Andrew Stuck [Museum of Walking London UK] 2019.

[Talking Walking] Made of Walking ⋈ La Romieu France 27.08 > 01.09.2017.

Delighted to say that Andrew Stuck [Museum of Walks London Uk] has got around in 2019 to editing the Talking Walking interview with me in the summer of 2017 in La Romieu during Made of Walking (III). A pod cast made by Andrew

during a walk with him. A walking talk about work and art in relation to my 'Library of Walks' and 'Letters to a Tree'. Listen here:





2018 > >





The walking body A week of conferences, workshops and performances about walking and arts, open to the students and the public are planned in Guimarães and prepare an internation gathering Made of Walking in the Minho landscape of North Portugal later in 2019. The project is hosted by Lab2PT and EAUM Licenciatura em Artes Visuais (School of Architecture - Visual Arts) of the University of Minho and in partnership with the art collective The Space Transcribers and the Museum Nogueira da Silva.


It prepares collaborations between University of Western Macedonia - School of Fine Arts, the University of Wales - Arts and Performance Dept and the School of Architecture - Visual Arts of the University of Minho in a contemporary translation of the rural and natural landscapes throught the body and site specific arts, within the emotions and nomadic movements that define our actual anthropocene world, through questions that artists may rise and answers that they may have.


[Meander III] performance/walk with the students, Minho University.

Concept by Stefaan van Biesen & Annemie Mestdagh.


The meeting in Guimaraes anticipates the fifth international gathering Made of Walking which will have as a topic "The walking body" and will be held in Prespes National Park and in the village of Prespes, West Macedonia - Greece, on the border of Greece, Macedonia and Albania, beginning July 2019, as part of an international conference on arts and walking organized by the University of Western Macedonia - School of Fine Arts.


The event will be related to the interaction of the Body to Landscape (and vice versa); the artist or the cultural nomad interprets the Landscape as an open field where he/she obtains experiences and, through them, develops ideas, concepts and his/her artwork. A particular set of emotions is created during the experience of walking in the landscape and that shapes a characteristic venue of art expression.


Lectures / conferences in Guimaraes


Silent walking / augmented walking. Geert Vermeire talks about his practice in silent walks and sound walks, which he created in the last decade. Specifically, it elaborates on new approaches and new technologies, relating to the movement of the body, in particular with sound devices and mobile phones. Since last years, also extended to mobile video and augmented reality. In Portuguese.


Made of Walking / The Art of Walking in the Landscape. Geert Vermeire reviews the previous editions, which took place in Greece, Cyprus and France, defined by a participative approach by participants and inhabitants, collaboratively curated in a dialogue between h the coordinator / curator Geert Vermeire and invited international artists and conceptually framed by Dr. Simona Vermeire and referring to a recent scientific and aesthetic discipline, Spaziergangwissenschaft or Promenadology (Science of Walking), created in the 90s by the urbanist Lucius Burckhardt (Germany). In Portuguese.


Artist talk by Stefaan van Biesen. About his walking practice and how this relates to digital media, sound, drawings & performances. The oeuvre of Stefaan van Biesen departs from an associative solidity between thinking, acting, environment: ‘how do thoughts manifest themselves via acts in our environment, what extent do they contribute to our well-being?’. Stefaan van Biesen exhibited in Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, UK, Poland, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Brazil and China. Conference in English.


Workshops / performances in Guimaraes


Augmented walking (Geert Vermeire). Participants are introduced into methods of sound walking, recording and editing sound, with free software. Each participant creates a personal sound walk that can be immediately downloaded to their smartphone with the Locosonic application. The workshop includes recording environmental sounds during an introductory walk and incorporating sounds through the built-in editor interface, allowing you to search, navigate and use more than 100,000 existing sounds / recordings. The workshop will also include the design of a custom interface for the application, with text, a map and photographs and the immediate creation of a page witha description, a map, photographs and an online audio sample of the walk.


Meander. (Stefaan van Biesen, Annemie Mestdagh) Walking is an instrument of knowledge and experience in the artistic work of Stefaan van Biesen. Concepts such as silence / time / body / mind, influenced by Eastern approaches, are situated in a Western way of thinking. Stefaan van Biesen invites you to a silent walk / performance: 'Meander' where concepts like 'turn on / let go / lead / trust / care' are the underlying ideas. In this constellation of influences (of feeling and being involved), the participant becomes, like the co-walker, the work of art! Concept and prop: Stefaan van Biesen and Annemie Mestdagh / the Milena principle. Outdoors. Duration: 45 minutes


Wander Weed. (Stefaan van Biesen, Annemie Mestdagh) A performative walk with Stefaan van Biesen, where participants explore a nomad work of art on a shared walk with 5 people at a time, along the readings a of poetic letters by Stefaan van Biesen (Letters to a Tree). Production: Annemie Mestdagh. Concept: Stefaan van Biesen / the Milena principle. Outdoors.







the Milena principle > Dance Gate Lefkosia in collaboration with Nicosia University > Fine Arts, Neapoli University Paphos > School of Architecture. 


Theme of Made of Walking (IV) was Plant(e)scape, relating to human motion and emotion in a plenary botanical background, and combining walking as a creative instrument with two emergent sciences: Spaziergangwissenschaft (promenadology) and Critical Plant Studies (Vegetal Philosophy: Plant-Thinking). Promenadology is a "tool" to explore our everyday living environment, as well as for delivery of content and knowledge, in combination with Critical Plant Studies, considering the plants as living entities with their own consciousness, as thinking, sentient beings, not mere objects to be studied and classified; they are also agents in the production of meaning. Following the logic of a symbiotic being in the world, (shared by humans, animals and plants), where the anthropomorphic centrality is lost, we aim to recover a vegetal point of view and creating new ecological meanings that may deepen symbolic and aesthetic levels. 


Selected and key note artists: Tracey M Berntsen (Australia), Ienke Kastelein (Holland), Lezli Rubin-Kunda (Canada/Israel), Rosie Montford (UK), Haris Pellapaisiotis (Cyprus), Panagiotis Lezes (Greece), Arianna Economou (Cyprus), Stefaan van Biesen (B), Annemie Mestdagh B), and Vermeire Geert (B).







Wander Weed is a performative exercise about 'the language of plants' and connected to 'Letters to a tree' [1996-1997] by Stefaan van Biesen. You can only feel and touch 'the letters', not read them.


[We are Wander Weed: the language of plants]. How is our relation towards the green world? What can we learn from the natural world? Can we find guiding lines in the way plants behave? Will we be able to live with the knowledge that the world of mankind and plants are one? Do we accept that plants have a level of intelligence?


Many questions to be asked.

As a performative group the participants each get to use a nomadic art work, a prop/bag to walk with. Participants can feel a letter inside the bags. This letter contains leaves of plants selected by Stefaan van Biesen and Annemie Mestdagh from their own garden. So inside this letter directed to you, waits a gift, is included a surprise.


Curiosity, sense of touch and wonder are generated by this, accompanied by a talk by the artist about our relationship with plants, culture versus nature, and with the reading of letters (Letters to a Tree). At the end of the walk the participants are asked to smell their hands, now strongly aromatic because of the scented plants present, leading to introspection in their own past and personal memories. One hour activity, repeated in 3 groups of max 5 participants during the week of Made of Walking (IV) at Neo Chorio Akamas 2018.



The participants of the Wander Weed sessions were: Ienke Kastelein (NL), Annelies Vantygem (Belgium), Geert Vermeire (Belgium), Rosie Montford (UK), Tracey M Benson (Australia), Witold van Ratingen (NL), Panagiotis Lezes (Greece), Katarina Paisi (Cyprus), Sol Burton (UK/Cyprus), Lezli Rubun-Kunda (Israel/Canada), Gideon (Israel), Jen Martin (UK), Jacqui Orly (UK), Mark Durkan (Ireland) and Josefin Westborg (Sweden).


Photo: the thirth Wander Weed Variation session in an abandoned house in the centre of Neo Chorio.






Wander Weed Variations [Letters]. Made of Walking (IV) Neo Chorio Akamas Cyprus 2018. Letters kept in a copper colored fabric prop. Copper as the origin of the name 'Cyprus': one theory suggests that the large quantity of copper deposits on the island gave the name 'Cyprus', as copper has the Latin name of 'cuprum'. Copper [the Latin symbol: Cu] as a conductor, the Alchemic symbol of the goddess Aphrodithe [mythology: it proposes that the name 'Cyprus' was given by the goddess Aphrodite (also known as Kyprida) who was born on the island].


The video is taken in an abandoned house in Neo Chorio Akamas, a precious and still untouched nature reserve, gradually threatened by real estate companies. The echos of the past linger on between the stones, inside the ruins of the place. Voices are whispering the old songs.

Camera and prop performance by Annemie Mestdagh. Concept, video and sound composition by Stefaan van Biesen. Made of Walking is an international meeting of walking artists and scientists. Organised by Geert Vermeire / the Milena principle 2018. Time 05:52.






2017 > Made of Walking (III) La Romieu France.













The Enter the Triangle performance (Silent Movements) is a gentle walking performance where three participants are required to listen to each other's body and the movements they make towards their own body. It is based on how to relate to another one's ways of moving or physical dialect:  so to become aware of the other(s). At the same time to be aware of the urban environment and the fact that although you are connected, there is always a feeling of disconnection between you and the others. Being able to touch and still being in the distance. It can be seen as a mental exercise to trust the other(s). To follow the other moving bodies while moving in space and to become a moving shape of consciousness. A flow, a living human sculpture, constantly changing shape of a triangle by interactions.

Stefaan van Biesen. 'Enter the Triangle'. 27.08 > 30.08.2017. A silent meditative walk/performance for 3 walkers, during Made of Walking La Romieu 2017. With Annelies Vantyghem (Belgium), Niran Baibulat (Finland), Rosario Forjaz (Portugal), Andrew Stuck (UK), Mel Sutton (UK), Ivana Pinna (Italy/Spain), Guendouz Nawal (Algeria/france), Carol Mancke (USA), Phillip Mckenzie (UK), Leo Kay (Belgium/UK), Pam Patterson (Canada), Leena Raudvee (Canada), Ruth Roadbent (UK).








2017 > Made of Walking (II) Delphi Greece.



[Made Of Walking] Delphi Greece (15.07.2017 > 23.07.2017).




A project within the Animart Experiential Arts School and Forum of Contemporary Artists, the Milena principle organizes a forum with a series of walks and walking workshops,  focussing on dialogues between performance, arts, literature and new media, inviting artists, writers, walkers, performers, musicians and composers, sound designers, new media artist, developers, teachers, researchers, experts and scientists of different fields, to share their experiences and to explore together topics related to walking practices. With contributors from the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Egypt, Israel, India/France/UK, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Turkey, Cyprus and Greece.


the Milena principle is an internationally operating platform and an artistic creation and research lab towards interdisciplinary practices within performance arts and new media, with a specific interest in the topics of ecology, sound, science, society and awareness.

Read the full program of Made Of Walking Delphi Summerschool Greece 2017.







[Enter the Triangle] Made of Walking (II). Animart Summer School. Delphi Greece [20.07 > 21.07.2017].


The Enter the Triangle performance [Silent Movements] is a gentle walking performance where three participants are required to listen to each other's body and the movements they make towards their own body. It is based on how to relate to another one's ways of moving or physical dialect: so to become aware of the other(s). At the same time to be aware of the urban environment and the fact that although you are connected, there is always a feeling of disconnection between you and the others. Being able to touch and still being in the distance. It can be seen as a mental exercise to trust the other(s). To follow the other moving bodies while moving in space and to become a moving shape of consciousness. A flow, a living human sculpture, constantly changing shape of a triangle by interactions.


Enter the Triangle. Interactive performance for 3 walkers and dancers during Made of Walking Delphi 2017. Concept and video: Stefaan van Biesen/the Milena principle. Attribute made by Annemie Mestdagh /the Milena principle. Performers: Lina Efstathiou (Greece), Eleni Nakou (Greece), Julia Redei (UK/Germany), Penny Finiri (Cyprus), Leand Kalaja (Albania), Panagiotis Lezes (Greece), Aliki Arnaouti (Greece), Ioanna Thanou (Greece), Chara Tzoka (Greece), Marianna Makri (Greece), Vermeire Geert (Belgium) and Haris Pellapaisiotis (Cyprus).








[Silencer / Monochord] Made of Walking (II). Delphi Greece (15.07.2017 > 23.07.2017).


A project based on the last request of Pythagoras while dying: "Play the monochord for me'.

An instrument for Delphi: the place shapes the sounds.



Consonance and dissonance. Pythagoras conceived the universe to be an immense monochord. Instruments derived from the monochord (or its moveable bridge) include the guqin, dan bau, koto, vina, hurdy-gurdy, and clavichord ("hence all keyboard instruments"). Harmony is a state recognized by great philosophers as the immediate prerequisite of beauty. A compound is termed beautiful only when its parts are in harmonious combination. The world is called beautiful and its Creator is designated the Good because good perforce must act in conformity with its own nature; and good acting according to its own nature is harmony, because the good which it accomplishes is harmonious with the good which it is. Beauty, therefore, is harmony manifesting its own intrinsic nature in the world of form.


A monochord, also known as sonometer, is an ancient musical and scientific laboratory instrument, involving one (mono) string (chord). The term monochord is sometimes used as the class-name for any musical stringed instrument having only one string and a stick shaped body, also known as musical bows. According to the Hornbostel–Sachs system, string bows are bar zithers while monochords are traditionally board zithers. The 'harmonical canon', or monochord is, at its least, "merely a string having a board under it of exactly the same length, upon which may be delineated the points at which the string must be stopped to give certain notes," allowing comparison.

A string is fixed at both ends and stretched over a sound box. One or more movable bridges are then manipulated to demonstrate mathematical relationships among the frequencies produced. "With its single string, movable bridge and graduated rule, the monochord (kanōn [Greek: law]) straddled the gap between notes and numbers, intervals and ratios, sense-perception and mathematical reason." However, "music, mathematics, and astronomy were [also] inexorably linked in the monochord."







[The Colour You Are] Made of Walking (II). Delphi Greece (15.07.2017 > 23.07.2017).


Appendix of the 'Silencer / Monochord' project.


A total sensorial experience of our environment is only possible if all our senses are redefined in a harmonious perception and 're-fine-tuned'  by a ' feeling thinking / feeling thinking'. Color, smell, sound, feelings, are a (higher or lower) octave of each other. On one long imaginary string, they flow from one to the other. All these stimuli and sensations are a manifestation of vibration (or frequencies) at different levels. In this way, the color 'red' is another harmonic manifestation of the tone 'do'. A Scent Of Silence is an exercise in resonance, the awareness that we are more than just 'form'. Everything in the universe is reducible to a number and frequency and is related to each other. We are sensible moving color and sound.

During this sensory walking workshop we allow walkers to meet with their individual 'tone' and 'color(s)'. We will use the colors that were defined by the great Russian tone poet and composer Aleksandr Scriabin (1872-1915) (as a homage to this extraordinary musician), who emphasized the strong relationship between tone and color into his own musical compositions.


Starting from the Shen Dao system of each person's neutral base color (personalized and determined by year of birth, and linked to the nourishing, soothing, controlling, draining colors and their functions) in relation to the 5 elements.




©stefaan van biesen-annemie mestdagh 17.03.2019