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The Pedestrian Ecology of Francis Alÿs



Craig Epplin (Portland State University)


Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 5:15pm


Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216




The Pedestrian Ecology of Francis Alÿs

Walking is integral to the practices of Belgian-born, Mexico City-based artist Francis Alÿs. His transient performances model the creation of ephemeral places, outlined by the limited reach of the human body and a few material extensions—ice, paint, and drumsticks, among others. These walks are laborious and dull, marked by futility and repetition. This low affective energy mirrors the process represented in these performances: the slow, uncertain emergence of places as fragile assemblages. These places are the result of alliances of diverse materials set in motion, and in placing this process on display, Alÿs’s works shed light on the critical possibilities of a pedestrian ecology—both within the arts and in spatial practice in general.


Epplin's research centers on the intersection of media technology, the arts, and ecological transformations in contemporary Latin America. He is the author of Late Book Culture in Argentina (Bloomsbury, 2014). He edits the Furniture in Motion pamphlet series for Rattapallax.