by: Jean-Pierre Marchant
“Walkers are 'practitioners of the city,' for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.”
― Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking", 2001
American essayist Rebecca Solnit’s book Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2001) is less a history of perambulation than an exploration of the relationship between thinking, walking, and culture. The term “wanderlust” originates from the German words wandern (to hike) and lust (desire); wanderlust, therefore, literally means “a desire to hike.” Walking is a crucial part of the human experience. Whether walking an often-treaded route or a new one, perambulation shapes what we see in the world and how we see it. Travelling on foot can prompt thoughts and emotions based on past memories, and it can arrest our attention with seemingly random and unmediated visuals. The films I have selected for On Foot use walking as a way to open up questions about mobility through space and place, emotional geographies of attachment and loss, and movement between life and death.
Walking is a crucial part of the human experience. Whether walking an often-treaded route or a new one, perambulation shapes what we see in the world and how we see it.