Tuesday Talk: Ania Bas review
Review by Rebecca Clift
Walking, writing, reading: the three fundamental activities that merge together to create an art practice based on creating a narrative, a dialogue.
After moving to the UK 12 years ago, Ania Bas started her journey between wanting to say something and writing it down.
Striving to create a space where narratives can take place, ‘The Walking Reading Group’ emerged. Similar to a book club, the members would read a book or text and then discuss the themes, topics, and any dialogue that emerged during the 2 hour planned walk. Walking in pairs allowed an intimate shared conversation where new discussion could foster. The walk was organised to pair people together who wanted to talk about a certain theme or issue; an ideal starting point for a conversation. Bas stated that she wanted to “advocate a structure that allows for disagreements” although later explaining that usually people had similar opinions, and their ideas developed from one another.
Walking, Bas explained, was her preferred mode of transport as it was an “ideal way to be present in the world”. The rhythm of her walking echoed her rhythm of thinking. This notion of movement seems to be a key identifier in most of her work. Movement seemed to stimulate her thought processes, so she hoped others would respond similarly, resulting in her urge to create the group with her peers Lydia Ashman and Simone Mair.
It seemed that initially the group did not have a political intention as she urged that you “are not here as a representative of anything or anyone else”. Instead, the dialogue should be free and flowing like their unified movement along the route. However, upon reflection she contemplates that the concept of walking “is a political act in itself”. We are exercising the right to walk, the right to have a voice. Ania Bas explains the similarity between artistic acts and political acts; “both are on the street, they both meet”, they both have a dialogue. Another factor of the discussion is that often the texts have conversations with the route; the cross discipline reading conjures up a parallel between the urban environments they venture though and their texts, allowing an engagement with the area.
As the walk comes to an end, an invitation to go for a drink and carry on conversation is always there. However, reflecting on this, Bas explained that the dynamic is different. Walking in pairs along the route eliminated the idea of a dominant voice; instead, a simultaneous equal discussion emerges. In a group setting, only certain voices are heard. Thinking about how dialogues form in different spaces is an interesting reflection, which will likely manifest even more in her upcoming projects
What emerged out of this talk is a strong sense of Bas creating universally shared experiences. Creating an intimate, comforting, safe environment where dialogue is formed in the same place at the same time - a simple interaction that leads to powerful, almost therapeutic dialogue.
Bas, A. (n.d.). The Walking Reading Group, 2013-2015. Retrieved February 27, 2015, from Blogspot: aniabas.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-walking-reading-group-on.html
Quotes taken from: Ania Bas, Artist talk at Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University on 23rd February 2016