Walks To Illuminate..

..Simon Whitehead


As boy he played football, watched birds, played in a punk band and wandered the suburbs looking for trees and streams.

As a movement artist, Simon's work has involved a transition from the formal presentation context of the theatre and studio space to a primary physical engagement with land and the qualities of season, people and place. His studio and context for presentation exists outside the usual art institution and interfaces directly with lived and sensory experience, usually involving a process of walking and journeying, through which an audience may participate or become witness.

His background in Dance and Movement continues to be central to the work he makes; it is the body's ecological paradigm and relation to its environment that are a basis from which he meditates and realises a series of propositions and experiences shared directly, or indirectly with an audience. This work seeks to connect humanity with nature and enliven participation on a physical and poetic level, often embracing the possibilities of technology as a bridge.

His work often begins with and evolves through a series of walks. These operate as manoeuvres with clear strategies, resulting in live performance, or conducted through various means of live and recorded media.

Over the last 9 years he has collaborated on much of this work with sound artist Barnaby Oliver.

In movement artist Simon Whitehead's work, to walk, to journey in order to encounter the other are essential processes. Through the movement of the body, his work is sensitive to place. Some works involve ritual reconstruction, live performance and sound media transposed to a distant place. His work happens in motion - walking between rural wellsprings, or with a horse's pace across a drover's road, or travelling to plant an apple tree.

These works open up the intimacy and vitality of a responsive connection between the human and the other-than-human: place, landscape, the animal, the processes of nature. Movement is the animating core - journeys, transitions and dance. Through these, the patterns which connect the human and nature are shown, and the necessity of that relation is experienced - by the artist, by the audience/viewer. That experience may be celebratory, ritual-like, painful, healing.

Wallace Heim. Enter Change (greenmuseum.org)

[project information]

[public walks]






[simon whitehead]

[yorkshire sculpture park]