Walking backwards is the new forwards!


So at the beginning of the assessment I was thinking what does Kaprow mean by activities and Happenings. I was thinking this is kinda weird walking backwards and writing how I feel about it. But after completing my activity I really think I have achieved a pure Happening in Kaprow’s eyes.

Kaprow states the activity type of Happening “…is directly involved in the everyday world…partakes of the unconscious daily rituals…selects and combines situations to be participated in…”
(Kaprow, A 1967, ‘Pinpointing Happenings’, p87)

My activity walking backwards is walking which is part of my everyday life, it is a daily ritual and it can be participated in solely or as a group. I didnt realise how much I would actually learn or discover from this. In Kaprow’s essay Pinpointing Happenings he states “A Happening is always a purposive activity…(It may even have as its purpose no purpose)” (p88), which I think is exactly what my activity was. In the beginning I didnt have a scale or meaning to look for, it was purely an ever expanding experiment to see what emotions were evoked and what observations were made.

As my walks progressed, particularly in the more public walks, I began to discover how I attracted observers. In my post, where I got James to walk backwards so I could see what his personal experience was like, I began to play with the idea of a flash mob walking backwards. I think by incorporating these observers not only would they achieve their own individual take on the activity but also it blurs this wall between artists and observers which is what Kaprow’s Happenings is all about.

Completing the class activities of the Mount Kiera walk (Week 2) and the Listening activity (Week 3) were really helpful, particularly to my activity as I could relate many observations found in those activities to my own. My own unique Happening experience resulted in not only observing more of the natural environment and its sights and sounds but I also progressed in myself. I have this fear of embarrassing myself in public or looking silly so I found walking backwards and being the centre of attention was a difficult challenge. However this take made me put that fear to the side and focus on the task at hand. I’m really happy that I have achieved this.

Finally Kaprow also states that “The Happenings in their various modes resemble the best efforts of contemporary inquiry into identity and meaning…”, which is exactly what I encountered.

Comments are closed.