Art channel


Potential Future Performances

PFP, grey cube in a space, closure

  1. Romily Alice Walden’s work is concerned with physicality and its interplay with other social categorisations and power differentials.
  2. At the core of her practice is an interrogation of contemporary embodiment and its relation to the Post-Internet age.
  3. Her work questions contemporary western society’s relationship with care, tenderness and fragility in relation to our bodies, our communities and our ecosystem.
  4. These themes are explored with a focus on the IRL/URL paradigm; Romily is interested in our ability to navigate the progressively interwoven online and offline facets of our lived experience, examining the effect of this progression on the way that we understand physicality, interdependency and vulnerability.
  5. As a queer, disabled artist, Romily is interested in the production of the ‘other’; her work seeks to explore the power of  ‘othered’ bodies to instigate changes in perception and normative cultural discourse.
  6. The vulnerability of the body has served as a focus for her practice since 2017; her most recent work seeks to disturb overly simplistic understandings of the disabled body, looking to bring an ethic of care, a connection between the land and the body, and a cripped concept of performance into conversation with her practice.
  7. Walden’s research interests include: cyborg theory, disability theory, crip theory, queer theory, post-humanism, autoethnography and utopian/dystopian futures.
  8. Her practice spans installation, sculpture, performance, text, video and coded arduino control systems, all of which is undertaken with a socially-engaged and research-led working methodology.


My Body Was  A River, 2018
Single channel video. 1m11s. + coded text to audio transcript.

This video/text work confronts notions of bodies both digital and physical: bodies of land, bodies of text and bodies in space. The work seeks to explore the connection between the disabled body and the natural landscape, examining the enforced separation of the disabled body from the natural world due to ableist socio-cultural design.

The text to audio transcript (see below) accompanies the video as an image file, copied exactly as it was encoded to speak “naturally” through the apple accessibility system. This coding includes pauses (coded as [[sincXXX]]) as well as incorrect spellings that enable correct machine-pronunciation of certain words. The transcript highlights the human input necessary to simulate humanity through machine-coding, whilst also providing an accessible transcript of the video work.

// TEXT TO SPEECH INSTRUCTIONS: enable text to speech using settings – accessibility and select text below. Then press cmd+esc on mac to start speech //

My body was a river  [[slnc 1000]]

I ran like a whisper, [[slnc 200]] rolling over rocks and rapids, [[slnc 200]] raging at the swell of the ravine, [[slnc 200]] swollen and pregnant with the wonder of the world. [[slnc 600]] I ran on endlessly, [[slnc 200]] flowing and merging with other bodies of water, [[slnc 200]] gaggling and babbling and guffawing with the glee of the rock underfoot and the endless skies above. [[slnc 1000]
I could feel you even if you were a thousand miles away. [[slnc 1200]]
I could feel you join me as sweat from the desert boulder, [[slnc 300]] trickling down slowly into a hefty belly, [[slnc 300]] and then plunging wrecklessly into my midst. [[slnc 900]]
I could carry the weight of all of you with all of my joy.  [[slnc 1100]]
I would lose you to the sky, that hungry taker, [[slnc 200]] and to the sea with her saline finger, [[slnc 200]] exhausted with its endless beckahning. [[slnc 400]]
But I would find you again.  [[slnc 800]]
I would always have enough. [[slnc 800]]
My body was a river. [[slnc 1000]]
The river ran dry. [[slnc 2000]]

Potential Future Performances, 2018

PFP3, grey cube in a space

PFP, grey cube in a space, closure

// TEXT TO SPEECH INSTRUCTIONS: enable text to speech using settings – accessibility and select text below. Then press cmd+esc on mac to start speech //

You are in a rectangular gallery space with white walls and polished concrete floors. [[slnc 300]]  Natural light floods the room from skylights in the gallery’s ceiling. [[slnc 300]] In the far left hand corner of the room is a large block: [[slnc 200]]  a one metre by one metre by one metre cube of solid concrete. [[slnc 300]] [[slnc 300]] The grey of its surface shifts like a riverbed in the tones and traces of its patina. [[slnc 600]] A steel ring is embedded into the centre of the front face of the block. [[slnc 500]] Slotted into the ring is a chain of thick, [[slnc 100]] polished steel. [[slnc 300]] The chain falls down the face of the cube [[slnc 100]]  and out onto the gallery floor. [[slnc 300]] At the end of the chain is an open carabiner. 

[[slnc 1200]]

On the hour, [[slnc 200]] I appear from the doorway  [[slnc 200]] wearing all black [[slnc 200]]  with a black leather harness around my hips.  [[slnc 300]] At the back of the harness is a large metal ring.  [[slnc 300]] I approach the block,  [[slnc 200]] bend down and lift the chain off the floor.  [[slnc 300]] I take hold of the carabiner at the end of the chain [[slnc 200]] and facing away from the block and towards you,  [[slnc 200]] I slot it through the ring on the back of my harness and screw it shut.  [[slnc 300]] I pull the chain taught to check that the connection is secure.  [[slnc 200]] My body is now fixed to the concrete block.

[[slnc 800]]

I take a deep breath and walk until I reach the end of the chain length.  [[slnc 300]] At this point I begin to lean forward.  [[slnc 300]] I am attempting to move the block using the force of my body.  [[slnc 300]] You notice the harness pressing at the flesh of my hips. [[slnc 300]] You hear my bare feet squeak on the polished concrete floor.  [[slnc 300]] The block begins to move;  [[slnc 400]] as it does I bend lower and lean further forward.  [[slnc 300]] You can see my muscles straining.  [[slnc 600]] As I start to move,  [[slnc 200]] you must also move; [[slnc 300]]  the crowd of bodies shifting in space to allow a clear path for me and my heavy body to strike a course around the room.  [[slnc 300]] I trace a line around the perimeter of the gallery,  [[slnc 200]] moving with the momentum of the block. [[slnc 300]] My feet leave hot wet patches on the concrete floor.  [[slnc 300]] Sweat gathers in the folds of my clothing and the folds of my skin. [[slnc 300]] Leather and cotton covered in salt. [[slnc 600]]

I am plotting a circumference around the rectangular room. [[slnc 300]] The block drags along the floor leaving a record of its travels as scratches in the polished concrete. [[slnc 400]]  You hear my heavy breathing. [[slnc 300]] You hear the sound of concrete meeting concrete in a collision of grey.  

[[slnc 800]] The lines on the ground form a record of my body, of the concrete, of my movement, of my body’s ability to move. 

[[slnc 800]] 

As I heave the block around the final corner and make my way back to my original position, [[slnc 200]]  the journey is complete. [[slnc 600]]  I stop, [[slnc 200]]  straighten up, [[slnc 200]]  and take 3 deep breaths [[slnc 300]].  I reach behind my back with both of my hands, [[slnc 200]]  unscrew the Carabiner, [[slnc 200]]  drop the chain on the floor, [[slnc 200]]  and exit the way that I came in.

[[slnc 1000]] 

The performance repeats every hour. 


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