Walking Seminar is a series of experimental walks anchored in the specific geography, local knowledge, emerging art practices, and social and political conditions of Puerto Rico. The island’s exuberant tropical ecology coexists with environmental devastation, institutional mimesis and decay, militarised and post-military spaces, as well as a growing movement to understand and transform these conditions. We are interested in the ways in which abstract political concepts have real physical, material and social traces and in the sensorial apprehension of these manifestations. Over the course of three weeks we follow a loosely defined route and sleep outdoors in hammocks. Sometimes sessions feel like poetic ethnography, at other times like a wandering discussion, and yet others as a sensorial political experiment. There is always another implicit task to sessions, which is to find new pedagogical forms, ways of working collectively and thinking about the future. Because of land management and ownership issues and the amount of land devoted to the US military, or patrolled as a border, sleeping outdoors is for the most part illegal. Understanding, exploring and challenging these imposed limits is an important part of the seminar. As we walk, we are also interested in the poetic and the irrational. We sleep and dream outdoors and temporarily disarm ourselves of the social and political language which organises experience and makes everything outside of it invisible.
Santiago Muñoz is an artist and co-founder of Beta-Local. Her work arises out of long periods of observation, in which the camera is present as an object with social implications and as an instrument mediating aesthetic thought. Her recent work has to do with post-military land, Haitian poetics, and speculative futures. The Walking Seminars are a way of practising new ways of living, imagining futures, and paying attention together, to a place that is more controlled than lived.