An Identity of The Pedestrian In The City

I spend a lot of time walking places in the city. Car-based culture had me neglect a lot of the places I’ve been. The small details. Cities are full of them. Marks and indentions in place that serve as historical record. Moving through this environment in the car reduces it’s signifigance to a blur: It encourages the traveller to take the place for granted rather easily.

In the west, and especially in cities where public transit doesn not really exist, and most travel is by car, Walking is a degraded act. The pedestrian is prejudiced with a variety of statuses: Poor, Homeless, Student, Troublemaker. And at every light, the pedestrian competes for right-of-way with the car. To have something so different than you, a machine mostly made of steel and plastic, as the partner in travelling, against your comparatively crushable bone and flesh, makes interaction one of constant vigilance.

To me though, walking can be a meditative experience: Think your thoughts, make your breath, feel your feet settling onto and off of the pavement. You think of where you are going. You think of where you are coming from. You think of nothing. You decompress. You prepare. Walking across an urban situation has a multiplicty of emotions and uses.

Installation photo by Kieran Wagner

Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream
Richmond, VA

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