Walking in Air ‘preliminary’

2020, Traces

of our first local fieldwork. 01/07/2020


To launch our project, each of us, on the afternoon of 7 January 2021, embarked on a separate walk in south London near our respective homes: Will in Battersea Park, Emmanuelle in Whitehorse Meadow in Thornton Heath. Our prompts, chosen for optional orientation in our walks, were the following:

'Setting sun. A mourning dove compounds invisible declensions’ (Susan Howe, 2015)

‘Gathered but porous, I receive the environment’s jubilation’ (Luce Irigaray, 2001)

Will Montgomery


The bandstand at Battersea Park

Will walked in Battersea Park, making audio recordings and reflecting on texts by Susan Howe and Wallace Stevens in the context of walking in air. Howe writes, thinking of Stevens’s late poem ‘The Course of a Particular’: ‘Maybe the nature of a particular can be understood only in relation to sound inside the sense it quickens. Setting sun. A mourning dove compounds invisible declensions.’ Will sought to put these words into contact with his walking experience.

During the walk, Will found that the challenge of conceptualising air immediately became apparent, as did that of holding sonic and textual material present to mind while moving through the landscape. Will recorded around the park bandstand, taking photographs as the sun set.

Emmanuelle Waeckerlé


In her walk, Emmanuelle drew on texts by Pauline Oliveros, Luce Irigaray and Rebecca Solnit: ‘Walk so silently that the bottom of your feet become ears’ (Oliveros); ‘Gathered but porous, I receive the environment’s jubilation’ (Irigaray); ‘the mind is a landscape of sorts and walking is one way to traverse it’ (Solnit).

She walked while commenting on this first experience of breathing and thinking and walking in air. She subsequently transcribed the recording and combined it with prose reflection. She later redacted the transcribed text to five short poetic scores for Walking in Air in Thornton Heath or elsewhere. 

Walking in Air, Performance Research ‘On Air’, Vol 26 issue 7 (Sept 2022)
co-authored by Will Montgomery & Emmanuelle Waeckerlé

Details of our preliminary fieldwork are here.