A north-east arts group is inviting people to ‘collectively walk the world’ while snapping photos of the sky. Gayle gets stuck in…
Lockdown has inspired me to walk – more than ever before.
I walk the dog before work, I walk (or sometimes run) at lunchtime, and I’ve discovered that if I drag my bum off the sofa and head out for a stroll on a glorious midsummer night, the rewards reaped are massive.
It’s a chance to get exercise, enjoy some fresh air, to bond with my dog, and if I’m really lucky, to experience a sensational north-east sky.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve witnessed some of the most unbelievably stunning sunsets – of surreal hues of reds, purples, pinks, blues, yellows and deep oranges swirling, drifting and blurring into one another.
I’ve seen candyfloss clouds, burning horizons and shooting, golden rays of light that wouldn’t look out of place in a sci-fi movie.
It’s been impossible not to get snap-happy with my phone, and despite the fact I’ve got a pretty basic 2017 Samsung Galaxy A5, I’ve been pleased with the results.
Daytime sky shows have been fantastic, too, and while out on my midday runs, I’ve taken some pictures of sensational cloud formations and moody, ethereal colourscapes.
I’ve posted some of these scenes on social media, but my plan is to send one, or perhaps a few, to a north-east-based social arts project in the hope they might end up being exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.
I’m not doing this because I have an ego the size of Scotland or I’m an exceptionally talented photographer. Heck, no!
I’m doing this because I’ve been invited (as everyone in the world, including you, has been) to submit my “under the sky” phone photos as part of a mission to “collectively walk the earth’s circumference” and record my experience.
Billed as a “slow marathon”, organisers are describing the project as “a symbolic act of solidarity during the Covid-19 pandemic and in the face of ongoing global injustices, racism and oppression”.
The group behind the idea, Huntly-based Deveron Projects, is asking people to jointly walk a distance of 40,000km, no matter where in the world they are, or how many miles they cover.
Photographs of the sky taken by participants on their walks will be collated into one “massive unifying artwork”.
As well as seeing these pictures displayed at the Royal Scottish Academy, organisers hope they might be made into a wallpaper.
Claudia Zeiske, director of Deveron Projects, says: “Anyone can walk around the world (a bit) by joining the ‘Under One Sky’ event.
“You don’t need to be a seasoned hiker, you don’t need to raise money and you won’t need your passport!”
Participants log miles walked daily on Deveron Projects’ website, whether they are trotting up and down the stairs, circling the garden, strolling with the baby buggy or, when permitted, hiking in the hills.
The organisation will then tot up the miles and share regular updates of the global distance logged online.
“We’ll illustrate how far this dispersed walking community has gone, and which borders it has, virtually, crossed,” adds Claudia. The project, which launched on June 20, has already got more than 200 participants from 30 different countries (including me) on board.
And so far, we’ve collectively walked 10,000km, which is 25% of the world’s circumference.
Glasgow-based Iranian artist Iman Tajik is leading the photography aspect of the venture.
While asking people to take photos of the sky above when they walk, he also wants them to take note of the location and to share any thoughts on the view, or about the project.
The point, he says, is that: “No matter where we are in the world, no matter who we are, our background, our race or our gender, we are all under one sky. The sky – like the coronavirus – knows no borders.
“Cumulatively, mile by mile, we will wend our human trail across the surface of our planet and through as many borders as we can.”
Iman asks that submitted photos are “mostly sky” and to avoid land or cityscapes on the horizon.
“It doesn’t matter what the weather is and photos can be in any format, either landscape or portrait,” he adds.
The invite to walk and take photos is open to each and every one of us, so dig out your camera phones and get snapping, pronto!
“It’s not about how many miles or metres we cover individually,” added Claudia. “It’s about what we achieve together.
“It’s an inclusive way for anyone, regardless of their geographical location or personal circumstances, to walk in protest and to show solidarity with those experiencing oppression in our world today.
“We hope people everywhere will join with us in our endeavour.”
It will be exciting to see how the project pans out and who knows where your snapshots will end up.
It’s a chance for us to do something remotely and yet together – under one sky.
The Under One Sky slow marathon officially launched on World Refugee Day on June 20, and is supported by the Scottish Refugee Council.
There’s no deadline to walk and send in phone pictures – the project finishes when the full 40,000km is jointly walked.
Slow Marathon was initially devised by Ethiopian artist Mihret Kebede in 2012. Ideally, Mihret wanted to walk from her home to Scotland, but this was not possible due to the many borders that could not be crossed and visa restrictions.
Register here to log your miles walked and submit your sky photos: deveron-projects.com