PROJECTS > Walk with me : Georgia (Agnes Scott College)

Installation at Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia.
Project specific to Hello Liberty curated by Lisa Alembik

"There is a community of the spirit
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise."

Walk with me: Georgia, 2008
Visitor’s contributions, magnets & magnetized paint, table + chairs, paper

text by Olivia White + Lisa Alembik:

Hope Hilton’s Walk with Me: Georgia, consists of three parts: an installation, a silent twenty minute walk led by the artist on the opening night, and an invitation to gallery guests to illustrate and provide directions for a favorite walk that they have taken in Georgia. Hilton asks of the individual to do something relatively simple: go on a walk and pay attention.

Several elements of this piece are likely commonplace items within the viewer’s home. The magnets, clip boards, and pencil cups, coupled with the modest set up of the table and chairs, communicate an air of informality and encourage the viewers to interact with the piece. The use of handwritten text on the papers as well as on the wall also provides a casual sensibility to the work. Far from intimidating, Hilton’s installation is both approachable and welcoming.

The artist has contemplated the act of walking for several years. One recent project consisted of a sixty-mile “memorial walk” from Huntsville, Alabama to Shelbyville, Tennessee. Titled "The Recognitions", the idea for the walk came after the discovery of a letter written by her Great-Great Grandmother wherein Hilton first learned of her family’s history of slave ownership. The letter recalled a time when a man named Henry, who was a slave, made a sixty-mile journey by foot to deliver the news of a birth within Hilton’s family. Hope undertook the same sixty-mile walk to recognize and try to understand Henry’s hardship, and possibly come to terms with how her family history intersects with the history of slavery in the U.S.

Most of us do a great deal of walking each day, sometimes for pleasure, other times out of necessity. We are more likely to be in tune with our cell phones, ipods, and inner thoughts than to our own environments. Hilton’s work transforms the role of the passive, static viewer, to that of an active and engaged participant. The artist seeks to connect the individual to his or her larger community. Through participation in a shared experience we are able to come to new understandings—and formulate new questions—about ourselves, those around us, and the place each of us holds within our communities. By participating in Walk with Me: Georgia—either by joining in on the silent walk or by contributing your own walk in the form of a map or a few lines of text, you are acknowledging your role in a shared experience, staking claim to your unique perspective as well as your community of fellows. By walking you acknowledge the liberty of locomotion, of self-direction. You might also consider the paths of others who may not be able to enjoy this liberty.