Figures in a Landscape
Simon Pope & Sarah Cullen
Walking on open moorland offers an opportunity for encounter with others. Organized groups set out into the hills with the intention of walking and talking together. This is as true of the Northumberland Hills as it is in many other upland places. Even while walking alone, we often see or meet other walkers along the way. Yet there is also, arguably, an expectation that hills and mountains should be isolated places, unpeopled and untroubled by human influence. An encounter with another person becomes problematic in this respect, reminding us that we share the land, and that there is a pervasive sociality at work, despite our best efforts to erase it. Yet the ‘figure in the landscape’, whilst seen as an obstacle to enjoyment of a pristine ‘wilderness’ might also a reassuring reminder of afellowship of the hills. This walk draws attention to these encounters and how art practice might also share similar concerns.
Simon Pope’s work focuses on walking as a model for processes of dialogue and negotiation. He is currently undertaking doctoral study at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, University of Oxford.
Sarah Cullen is a UK/Toronto based artist and crafter. Her mapping and walking work led her to a Masters in Geography focusing on creative methodologies and the relationships between contemporary art and cultural geography.