And this is the end of the walk …

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the Walking Project at Mailbox 141! The Walking Project is now finished. It was great to see so many people taking part in the walks, with 114 people streaming or downloading one of the walking recordings from SoundCloud. If you have any images to share from the walks, or comments or questions, please send them to my email address, available on the contact page. It was beautiful to read the letters sent from the walks, and I look forward to more trickling through the mail in the coming days. Thank you to Mailbox 141 for hosting the project, and for their support for the concept. Up next at Mailbox is Madeleine Preston’s Aerogramme, opening on 19th November.

I hope you have enjoyed the walk; have a lovely day.

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Beautiful Walking!

I have been receiving a few items in the mail of late! This week letters arrived from Walks #5 and #2.
During the fifth walk, I talk a little bit about language, and I ask them what their favourite word is. For reference sake, mine is “pulchritudinous”, meaning beautiful, and yes, you may have guessed I am a fan of David Foster-Wallace. I also asked the walker to pick up something small from the ground, and place it in the envelope as well.

On the card was written the word “goulash”, which admittedly is a word which rolls of the tongue, yet is also delightfully odd. Along with the card, there was a green leaf placed in the envelope.

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From Walk #2 there have been two letters. Under Princes Bridge, I ask what they heard or saw. I love the description of “horses clip-clopping”, “green light walk noise” and “ding ding tram bells”. They also wrote that they saw a homeless man sleeping, shadows and reflections.

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In my virtual letterbox, (my gmail inbox) I also got some mail. Lisa emailed me with some images from Walk #4. I have added them to the Walking Project gallery, and you can take a look at them here.

Thank you to everyone who has taken a walk. Pass on the details to your friends, family, housemates, or use the chalk to write it on a wall. If you’ve been on one of walks, come back and try another – each is very different!

Would you like to go for a walk?

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Who has been for a walk this week?

Although the weather has not been great this week, it looks like a few people have gone for a walk!

A couple of days ago I received some letters in the mail, from Walk #3. I asked the walkers what they saw and heard while standing under Princes Bridge, on the north side of the Yarra.

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I really like the observation of “trails of light along the river”. Receiving the letters in the mail reminded me how wonderful it is to look into the mailbox and find something other than bills – a handwritten note, addressed just to you.

It was beautiful to read these comments from participants, and I look forward to more appearing in my letterbox as the project continues.

Last night I strolled down Higson Lane to take a look at the wall, and see what people had written, and a new comment has appeared there as well.

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Thanks to everyone who has done the walk so far! And if you’ve already been on walk, come back for another, bring along a friend, and let the city envelop you in its charms.

Would you like to go for a walk?

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Launch and first comments!

The Walking Project launched yesterday evening. It was a beautifully still and warm night, perfect for a stroll down the laneways and along the river.

Thank you to all of those who made it down for the first walks! Revisiting the wall where participants are asked to write comments during walk #1 (on the way to Gogo for a little drink), a few comments had already appeared.

At the beginning of walk #1, I ask the audience to take out a piece of chalk from one of the mailboxes. Later after leading them down a quite laneway, I ask them what was different from their experience, compared to what I described in the walk.  People have so far written the following:

 

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I also took a walk myself with a few friends (walk #3) and appreciated how still and glossy the water of the Yarra was. It was a stunning night to be outside, exploring the city in the company of some lovely friends. Below are a couple of photos of the view from under Princes Bridge, on Flinders Walk.

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Thanks to everyone who did a walk yesterday, and I look forward to receiving the first letters from walks #3 and #5 in the mail soon!

If you’re in the city and looking for something to do, or simply feel like being led around on a stroll, head to Mailbox 141 with your headphones.

Would you like to go for a walk?

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Open for walking!

So I headed into the city yesterday to install at Mailbox 141. After a surprisingly trouble-free visit to Officeworks for printing, I was soon standing in front of the mailboxes inserting the printed barcodes and images into the little windows. Also ensconced in some of the mailboxes are pencils, chalk and envelopes, for participants to take on the walks with them.

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Prior to placing the envelopes into the mailbox, I had to stamp and address them. This involved a trip to Australia Post to buy stamps, and also a stop at a cafe while I took the time to address, affix a stamp, and place a piece of paper inside each of the fifty envelopes. Being a rainy and generally miserable day however, this was a pleasant interlude from running around and getting soaked.

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And now the Walking Project is ready to go!

Or so I thought …

While doing one last walk, to double-check the timing of a walking recording (compared to real-life walking time) along the Yarra, I discovered that a pontoon had been detached from the walkway, and the platform roped off. This appeared quite reasonable, as the little bridge-thingy appeared to be missing a few wooden slats. Unfortunately, Walk #2 invited the participants to turn left onto the platform and walk onto the pontoon. A few calls to City of Melbourne and Parks Victoria later, and still no answers as to when it will be restored (or if it will at all). So now what to do for Walk #2? Deciding that a simple post-it note next to the barcode in the mailbox saying “Beware: pontoon non-existent!” would probably confuse more than inform, I have re-edited the walk. The walk now halts where the pontoon was, and the audience remains on the walkway beside the river.

Should the platform and pontoon be restored during the next month, I will upload the original recording, as the pontoon was one of my favourite spots to record. Until then however, it would be rather unsafe to include directions to walk into the river!

The re-edited recording is now uploaded to SoundCloud, and embedded on the page for Walk #2, and the original has been removed entirely.

If anyone has already downloaded Walk #2, they should delete it, and download or stream the new file for a safer walking experience (or use their common sense and not walk onto a clearly dangerous bridge leading nowhere).

[Edit: A call from Parks Victoria this afternoon has now revealed that the pontoon has been relocated to Flemington for the duration of the Spring Racing Carnival, and will not return to Flinders Walk until the 18th November – after the Walking Project has concluded at Mailbox 141.]

And now the Walking Project is now ready to launch! Officially opening today at 5.30pm, we are having an opening party at Mailbox 141 which will begin with those interested taking a walk, and then meet up afterwards for a drink at Gogo bar from 6pm. Come along to Mailbox, bring your headphones, and take a walk with me (or rather my disembodied voice). For those who can’t make it tonight, the project will continue until 15th November.

For those wondering what will happen to their envelopes and comments from walks number 3 and 5, when I receive the envelopes in the mail I will be posting the contents on this blog. I will also be regularly visiting the location where participants are invited to write in chalk in the wall, to document the contributions, and including them here as well.

If you have taken any photos or videos during the walks, or have a comment to make, send them to me via the email address on the contact page, and I will to upload them to the blog too.

And now the Walking Project is up and running. So if you are free this evening – would you like to go for a walk?

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Walking Project opens soon at Mailbox 141!

From 15th October The Walking Project will be hosted by Mailbox 141. Head down to Mailbox 141, located at 141 Flinders Lane, to take a walk. Placed in the mailboxes are QR codes, which with a smart-phone and a QR-reader app, will lead you to an audio file to stream or download. Each audio file takes you on a narrated tour, beginning at Mailbox 141, ranging from a few minutes to half an hour, which will take you to unexpected sights around the city.

For the walks I made recordings of the city, and as you’re guided through the streets and lane-ways you’re invited to share some of my experiences and reflect on the urban environment around you.

Some of the walks invite the audience to interact with their surroundings, some ask for you to observe, or to find something, or simply to open your eyes and ears.

The walks all begin at Mailbox 141, and end at various locations within a 1km radius. There is no cost to take part.

So if you have a few minutes to spare, or just feel like a contemplative stroll, head down to Mailbox 141 between 15th October and 15th November, bringing along your smart-phone and a set of head-phones.

Would you like to go for a walk?

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