Logo of 4WCoP2022 text next to a globe

A postcard for #4WCoP2022

August 25, 2022

Walking a line towards the sun: a postcard for The Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography ‘Wish We Were Here’ 2022

mall pencil rubbing on stony track into field with view downhill in background.

Walking A Line Towards The Sun for the The Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography ‘Wish We Were Here’ 2022 is a new variation of my previous walks involving a sensory engagement with the ground, taking pencil on paper ground rubbings along the way.

For #4wcop22 I’m extending my Groundlines to see what happens when I base a line walked on seeking connections between earth and sky. In watching the sun visually connect to the earth as it rises and sets, I look up, down, ahead, around. Moving directions. It moves. I move.

My initial plan was to spend a day walking from dawn to dusk. Due to unforeseen circumstances this summer I have had to adapt it but this initial idea still underpins it.

My original title, Walking a Line: Encounters Through Drawing (A sensory engagement with the ground), was based on previous adaptations of my Groundlines journeys for public events, taking pencil on paper ground rubbings along the way, noting location, track surface, and observations. 

On these journeys I found that taking time to pause and connect with the surface of the ground allows me to engage with a place with all my senses and imagine its stories, histories and connections to other landscapes and people. 

Small square 'Groundlines' pencil ground rubbing on sandy track with title text and 4WCop2022 logo

For the context of #4wcop22 and its theme of ‘Wish We Were Here’ I envisaged the drawings as a visual language and system of communication that can cross borders and boundaries, and an invitation to others to tune into this ‘here’ and extend these invisible connections.

Once I started to plan and think through the practicalities of the walk, new layers of meaning appeared. In my initial proposal of using the sun to direct the line walked, I hadn’t taken into account the footpath restrictions in England with limited access to land and no freedom to roam. 

I thought through various options, from finding a large patch of land such as a field, park, beach or common to do a slow walk, to attempting a walk via footpaths. The latter option would mean either trespassing at times or sticking to official footpaths and incorporating their restraints into a meandering line.

The more I thought about it, the more possibilities I found for these lines, and they slowly began to take on a different identity from previous Groundlines I still felt the same effects from taking time to pause and engage with the ground through drawing, but the added element of the sun generated new connections. In a similar way, when creating Five Rivers Line, the added element of water generated a new set of ideas. I wrote about this recently for Living Maps Review.

The imagined sun-led walks, planned but not (yet) completed feel real to me, especially those in familiar areas and along paths I have walked many times. I am curious to know where I would end up and how much I would deviate from my imagined route.

The role of sun and stars in wayfinding and navigation has a long history. Using the sun as my guide has helped me to connect with things that are way bigger than just me and my local patch.

What began as an idea for a walk has, over the course of this summer, made me think in depth about the connections between earth and sky, especially with the current drought. Swimming and kayaking this summer has also brought me into direct contact with the low river levels.

Trespassing and the right to roam has come up as an issue in previous Groundlines, particularly when trying to follow waterways, and inevitably is a factor when trying to walk a line towards the sun in England.

Walking these different lines over several years has expanded from my starting point of a practical way to record a journey through drawings that were lightweight and portable to carry on a bicycle tour. Through the process of making, I have found connections not only with the past, but also with the present and future, and with topical and urgent issues from political to the climate crisis. The interweaving of the elements has increasingly become central to my work and this project has led me to thinking more deeply about ‘elemental’ as a description of my work at the moment.

Small pencil rubbing on stony soil track with view of fields and hedgerows in distance.

For my postcard, to be shown at #4WCoP2022 on 4 September, I decided to keep it simple and select one image that I felt represented walking ‘A Line Towards The Sun’.

I’ve very much enjoyed the added context of #4WCoP2022 and the theme of ‘Wish We Were Here’ and seeing what other participants are doing too. I generally find that taking part in a group project or event can not only generate ideas for future projects but also help me feel less isolated through being part of a wider discussion. I like to think that through showing and sharing our work as a larger group, it can have more impact. This feels increasingly important and urgent in the context of the climate crisis. 

Thank you to the team at #4wcop22 for inviting me to participate. I’m looking forward to seeing all the postcards and taking part in the Finale and Celebration on 4 September. 


If you’d like to join this online event on 4 Sept, click here for Eventbrite details. 

Find out more about The Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography on their website here.