Walks - Stefaan van Biesen

 

W A L K S : The urban flaneur

 

 

['not all of those who wander are lost'].

 

 

Spaziergangwissenschaft [ An everyday practice].

 

Stefaan Van Biesen is a Belgian visual artist, multimedia artist, sound artist and writer. His oeuvre is focused on the research of walking as an instrument of knowledge and of artistic creation. An artistic trajectory of more then 20 years consists out of walks, drawings, projects, installations, videos, perfomances, texts and soundscapes, developed as an interactive process, a stream of ideas, images, sounds and visions in which collaborations with other artists, experts from various disciplines and community based artistic processes are important components.

 

 

Walks [traces of memory. Walking as a science, as an ecological gesture, an invitation to wander. It is a meeting place for new ideas and initiatifs.

 

Stefaan van Biesen’s way of thinking is in a current way in keeping with the nomadic aspect of the renaissance artists, who travelled all over Europe. Dürer is a striking example of this. These journeys were art projects, in which streams of thoughts, drawings and other artefacts arose from encounters. These journeys were laboratories of thoughts. Knowledge transformed into an impassioned knowledge. Stefaan van Biesen shows this lab. Notes, artefacts and drawings embellish his journey.

 

Since 1990 Stefaan van Biesen undertakes, at home and abroad, walks, which, by way of performance, he documents with video, pictures, models, texts, drawings. The Swiss sociologist and urbanist, Lucius Burckhardt [1925-2003] introduced in the nineties the concept: 'Spaziergangwissenschaft'. Stefaan van Biesen wanted to expand this 'science of walking'. It can be seen as a subjective thought exercise in the urban texture and the landscape, ['Head Wanderer' 2002]. This resulted in 'Sensitive islands' where social observations from an unbiased position were recorded. Thus arose in various libraries 'Libraries of the Walks' [the most recent was seen in Brasilia 2012, [Jardim Botanico, Brazil]. The core remains a question, an invitation to the 'art of wandering', where the destination is secondary to the road itself. The day as a cycle of meetings, the body as a moving center, instrument of knowledge, experience and creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1992 > the first registrated walk.

 

 

[My load is undefined] [video 1992] a 2 days walking performance on several locations in Belgium. 

 

 

 

[My load is undefined] My first walk as the start of an artistic practice: registration of a two days walk in the Flemish landscape: Melsele Belgium 1992. Attribute Stefaan van Biesen. An homage to Breugel and Bosch. Camera and video by Toon Saerens. Time 04:46.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walks as an everyday practice

 

 

 

'In the work of Stefaan van Biesen an associative solidity has arisen between thinking, acting, environment and well-being. Formulated as a question: 'how do our thoughts manifest themselves via acts in our environment and to what extent do they contribute to our well-being?' (Stef Van Bellingen, 2006).

 

The body is experienced as an influential instrument, a subject that feels out its environment and resonates out of a sensitive thinking. The body thus moves in an optical and emotional field out of a panoramic perspective, a sanctuary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicle of the urban walker


'The flaneur walks in the city's hustle and bustle as a devoted observer, who with great excitement absorbs everything in order to try to understand life and to wonder. In the midst of all urban activity he solves and becomes one with the city he has become.
The flaneur feels at home everywhere. His true 'home', however, is his body. A silent person that walks through squares and streets. It's an important and necessary feeling to want to know the world and to see it, always with other eyes. To be carried away completely and the same time to hide yourself visibly. The will to be that coincidental passant, a croniqeur incognito. The desire to refine all life art to taste full life as a shivering fish in the expanding universe. This vacuum of nourishing energy, flowing from the centuries-knocking heart of the city. And this is what makes us come home.'


Stefaan van Biesen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Modern cities and towns have often forgotten how to listen to walking and the needs of people who are walking. With a focus on two questions, interspersed with short walks. How can the ideas of listening to walking and listening while walking be brought into the day-to-day worlds of city planning and design? How can the worlds of art and walking advocacy work together to help communities get the mix of physical and spiritual walking space that they need to make healthier and happier places?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter: Thoughts of a coincidental walker (in a city park).


'The black bird above me knows that the evening is falling. It croaks its dissatisfaction and then flies away, far from the place where I stand. It is like a little rascal who tries to chase me away. I know it is there, hidden between the foliage, waiting for me to leave. It sees me as an uninvited guest in its sunroom and claims this spot. A soft tangle of countless weak noises makes it clear that I am not alone on this path. I am a walker with an inward turned ear, listening to the beat of my heart, and to how my lungs fill up with air and release it after every breath I take. A body that sways like a feather, a vibrating string in a big sound box named world. A strange kind of music appears out of nothingness.


It sounds like humming, the buzzing of a dancing bee in its hive. The throat, a shaft of noises, through which everything has to be shoved. And it fades away through the thin layers of air around me. Words, which dissolve into nothingness, thoughts which keep spinning around in your head.


Whispering is nothing more than careful listening to oneself.'


Stefaan van Biesen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©stefaan van biesen-annemie mestdagh 24.09.2018