On Sunday, June 8th, 2014 I decided to go for a text walk on East Hastings Street, here in Vancouver, once again taking photographs with my phone as I walked, as I had done when I text walked along Main Street back in April. I wasn’t sure if this time I’d actually be able to create a text walking poem from the bits of text that I came across and photographed, but I decided to just stay open to the possibility that a poem might surface.
Actually, to be honest, I wondered if I might have just lucked out on Main Street. But I reminded myself that whatever would be written and created, would be written and created, even if that would end up being nothing. I wanted to just enjoy my walk in the Hastings Sunrise neighbourhood and to stay true to my approach of walking, observing, and gathering text images – being attentive to the street.
I walked along the north side of the street from Victoria Drive up to Renfrew Street, turning around before entering Hastings Park, and then walked back down to Victoria Drive along the south side of the street.
In the week following I began to play with the text, experimenting with a few ideas and setting myself some parameters to work within. I briefly tried to see if I could write a series of Hastings’ haiku, in part because I found the amount of gathered text rather daunting. I also entertained the idea of just using the words in any order since it would offer more options, but in the end I once again used the words in the order that I came upon them (in the order that the text images were actually photographed on my walk). If I was going to write a text walking poem, it seemed to make sense to have it reflect my walk.
After a few days of living with the gathered material, a text walking poem began to take shape and on Sunday, June 15th I finally completed the video.
Thanks to all those who have shared comments and thoughts on my text walking pieces. I especially want to thank James Brown and Tom Wolseley for their feedback, which was so helpful as I continued to think about my process and the works themselves.