Three Walked Rooms

Karshan “walks out” three historic rooms that resonate with her practice. She approaches each location in the same way as her drawings; allowing these spaces to enact walked lines and movements that embody her internal rhythm and form. Each walk is choreographed by Linda Karshan and directed & filmed by Ishmael Annobil of Stonedog Productions.

Film 1: Linda’s Room, A Moth with Turn the Balance, San Giorgio Maggiore Abbey, Venice, Italy, September 2018.

Film 2: Two Feet Walking, Moti del’ Animo, the Study Room of the British Museum, London, February 2019.

Film 3: Graphite Stroke: Taking a Line for a Walk, Somerset House, March 2019.

Except of commentary text composed by Mara Gerety, April 12, 2019:

Locutio locī – The Voice of a Place

Every space has its own voice.

Sound waves move through and interact with every environment in a unique way, so much so that a violinist can feel a difference in the vibrations of the strings under his bow or a singer can find herself instinctively breathing differently.

In Linda Karshan’s “Walked Drawings,” the artist uses the sound and rhythm of her own footsteps to create auditory portraits of four different spaces. Following the patterns of her breath and her intuitive “inner choreography”, Karshan walks through each room in precise patterns of straight lines that recall her drawings on paper, sometimes stopping to embellish a particular point with a few steps of dancelike footwork.

As she moves through each space, Karshan’s footsteps resound off the walls and floors in an interplay of echoes and rhythms. The artist herself becomes a living presence giving voice to the place itself.


Film 1: Linda’s Room: A Moth can Turn the Balance

September 2018

A Stonedog Production, Directed by Ishmael Annobil

" 'We should never be roused' by the essay...because it 'should lay us under a spell with its first word, and we should only wake, refreshed, with its last',...fixing us in a 'trance which is not sleep but an intensification of of life'."

Thomas Karshan, “What do they know?” TLS, March 22, 2013, quoting Virginia Woolf, on the essay.

Linda Karshan does an impromptu performance in response to her exhibition, Equilibrio: Art Architecture and Sacred Geometry in conversation, at Abbazia Di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice (August 26 - October 7, 2018). Here Linda walks the 'sacred geometry', effecting a drawing, in response to the magnificent show, curated by Dr. Carmelo Grassi and Rev.

In Linda’s Room/A Moth Can Turn The Balance, the artist walks through a sunlit, empty room at the Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, Italy. The echoes of her footsteps seem to change shape and texture coming from different parts of the room, an interplay with the vanishing-point perspective of the checkerboard tiles on the floor. The sounds themselves are resonant and solemn, in an ascetic and monastic tone, like the clear harmonies of religious plainchant reaching up and out to the heavens. - Mara Gerety, April 12, 2019


Film 2: Two Feet Walking: Moti del’Animo - In the Study Room of the British Museum

February 2019

A Stonedog Production, Directed by Ishmael Annobil

“This second walked drawing in my trilogy of historic rooms called for an approach different to that of San Giorgio.

In Palladio's Venetian structure, my event-space was wide open; the floor a design of lozenges. While it might have been the case that I followed these patterns, in fact they asked to be navigated round. 

The  Study Room of the British Museum called for navigation of a different kind. The two long, study tables at the heart of my work determined the symmetrical structure of the piece. Limbering up, I happily I noted that the length of each table amounted to 16 counts--'turn and turn about'--while the width was a handsome number 8. 

Trollies of books added to the fun; I mostly steered clear of them, by design.

The history of the room, with its distinct, proud aura,  powerfully effected my state of mind. With concentration and awareness of my surround, I walked with 'purposefulness without purpose', in black and white.”
- Linda Karshan, 26/02/2019

Two Feet Walking/Moti del’Animo was recorded in the Prints and Drawings Room of the British Museum, where much of Karshan’s work is collected. Here the soundscape is softer and more intimate – one whispers in a library, after all – and her lines are shorter and more intricate. If the sound in San Giorgio Maggiore evoked one soul in meditation, here one almost perceives a hushed dialogue among the many voices of the works of art contained in the room – and Karshan’s quick steps of intricate footwork become the scratching of a pen on paper, a note eagerly scribbled down in a margin. - Mara Gerety, April 12, 2019


Film 3: Graphite Stroke : Taking a Line for a Walk

March 2019

A Stonedog Production, Directed by Ishmael Annobil

Graphite Stroke: Taking a Line for a Walk*

This event-space demanded clear decisions. The size of the courtyard; it's cobblestone surface; its being out of doors with the Courtauld in arriere-plan--these considerations called for a fresh approach, arrived at with awareness, and detachment.**

My intuition told me to buy tap shoes, to better animate the sound/rhythm of my walk. Limbering up, in rough footage from the first recce, I saw myself as a graphite stroke, taking itself for a walk. Ishmael observed that I looked like a show horse in dressage: the cobblestones required that I lift my knees, so as not to stumble in my new shoes.

Tap, tap; click, click. Tap, tap; click, click: 'In ultimate c(c=consciousness), which is no c at all', observed Mattias Barmann, responding to Ishmael's take.                      

 'grace, as we know, is in the puppet as in god, no c at all/ultimate c(c=consciousness)--and in the show horse,  of course--Kleist obviously forgot it.' ***

Mattias is referring to Kleist's short story, On the Marionette Theatre, 1810, a key text in my work. I refer to it often, especially in its definition of gravity, and grace: “the line of gravity is nothing but the path taken by the soul of the dancer.” ****

“Dance is an action and a thing.” *****

LINDA KARSHAN 15 March 2019

FOOTNOTES:                                                                                            

*Paul Klee, Pedagogical Sketchbook

**By both Ishmael and myself.

***Mattias Barmann, March 2019. To LK

****Heinrich von Kleist. See Linda Karshan jotting, Nov. 27, 2007, in LK, Studio View, p. 70; and the artist's statement, The           Assigned Figure, in Measure without Measure. Marilyn McCully, Cacklegoose Press, 2000, p. 55.

*****Charles Olson, in a letter to Merce Cunningham. I read this in a wall text at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, during their show on Black Mountain College, 2002.

In Graphite Stroke : Taking a Line for a Walk, the artist walks through an outdoor space at Somerset House. She wears tap shoes that create a bright and crisp sound on the cobblestones, a clarity paralleled by the pale late-winter sunlight of the scene. Here her steps are more stylized than elsewhere, and she moves her whole body in understated interpretations of dance steps that add a touch of quiet whimsy to the scene. - Mara Gerety, April 12, 2019