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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
What have walking and food got to do with art? What have walking and food got to do with art?

Clare Qualmann

Perambulator

2014

There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall.
Cyril Connolly
An exploration of walking with a pram (or pushchair)

Clare Qualmann is a walking artist from London who was with us in Spring 2014 with her two children Ernest and Ruby.

Huntly, like many of our towns, is made for vehicles and people who are independently mobile. A fact that is often furthest from our minds when navigating through it, that is, until something comes along and radically changes our relationship to this environment: a child. In the first few months of Clare's son's life, pushing his pram around the area that she had lived in for the last 12 years, she was struck by the number of detours that she had to take–the route alterations, the small (and not-so-small) impediments to smooth passage. Her very familiar routes through and to places were rudely disrupted, forcing a new relationship with the very physical details of the urban environment–something that many new parents encounter. And so, for a town once deemed the 'family town': How suitable is Huntly for young children and their pram pushing parents?

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Perambulator was a performance project, which made visible issues around walking with a pram. Through a series of pram walking events around Huntly–town and country–Clare tried to make visible this, and other spaces, and their fitness for people with young children. Adaptable to pretty much any location, it sought to highlight the everyday issues, annoyances, awkwardness and roundabout requirements of pram pushing.

Clare visited Huntly with her two children Ernest (2 years) and baby Ruby, spending a lot of time pushing her pram around the town and surrounding country side. Clare met with other parents of the town, inviting them to share their walks and collect their experiences. Next to a number of one-to-one and group walks, she joined the Slow Marathon, where collectively parents and children gathered enough miles to finish one marathon. Clare also produced a map of Huntly that illustrates good and bad pram routes around town, and finished her project with a mass pram walk, the Perambulator Parade.

Clare's work stems from an obsession with the ordinary and the unnoticed, looking for beauty in the everyday mundane. Walking as a necessity, routine walks, getting places without spending any money, walking as a freedom, as a subversive practice, and as a visual art practice. As a member of walkwalkwalk she has become a walking artist, exploring and developing a practice that begins with a re-examination of the places that you think are familiar–a kind of anti-derive. walkwalkwalk are founding members of the  walking artists network.

      

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