+ Add An Event


Your support helps us cover dance in New York City and beyond! Donate now.

First-Ever Participatory Walks Festival, Feat. Karen Finley, Anthony Goicolea, Amichai Lau-Lavie, Sarah Schulman, more‏

First-Ever Participatory Walks Festival, Feat. Karen Finley, Anthony Goicolea, Amichai Lau-Lavie, Sarah Schulman, more‏




Throughout NYC


Friday, September 26, 2014 - 12:00pm
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 12:00pm




12-Day Free Festival Will Feature Eight Walks Created and Led by a Diversity of Artists, Four Talks Featuring Pioneers of the Form, and an Unusual Closing Night Benefit Party at Jack Geary Contemporary

Walk Artists to Include Karen Finley, Anthony Goicolea, Amichai Lau-Lavie, Sarah Schulman, Todd Shalom, Niegel Smith and More
Talk Panelists to Include luciana achugar, Miguel Gutierrez, Christian Hawkey, Eve Mosher, Nancy Nowacek, Veit Stratmann and More
Elastic City celebrates its fifth year by presenting the first-ever participatory walks festival. The 12-day Elastic City Walks Festival, in which all events are free and open to the public via RSVP, will take place in outdoor locations throughout New York City, September 26 - October 7.
A diverse lineup of poets, performing and visual artists are creating and will lead walks. Additionally, 20 artists and curators will convene at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on September 28 for a total of four unique talks that will contextualize the growing genre of participatory walks, the brainchild of poet and artist Todd Shalom, who founded Elastic City five years ago.
Presenting partners include Pratt Institute’s new MFA in Writing, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Brooklyn Museum. Hyperallergic is the festival’s media partner.
Foundation support received from Foundation for Contemporary Arts & Asylum Arts.

The festival will conclude October 7 with a benefit party at the new Soho gallery Jack Geary Contemporary, for which tickets are on sale at $40/person at: www.elastic-city.org/donate
In addition to the information below, more -- including brief biographies of those leading walks and talks – can be found at www.elastic-city.org/artists
The festival will feature eight participatory walks created and led by a wide range of luminaries including performance artists Karen Finley and Michel Groisman; photographer Anthony Goicolea; urbanist Nisan Haymian; ritualists Amichai Lau-Lavie & Shawn Shafner; poet-theater artists Sarah Schulman, Todd Shalom and Niegel Smith; and aerial artist-choreographer Kristin Geneve Young.
As part of its “Crossing Brooklyn” exhibition, a selection of contemporary Brooklyn-based artists, Brooklyn Museum will co-present two walks: “Favorites,” by Sarah Schulman, Todd Shalom and Niegel Smith, and “Dark Hour/Light Moment,” by Anthony Goicolea.
Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation will co-present Karen Finley’s, “Mandala: Reimagining Columbus Circle.”
Specific walk details are below:
“Mandala: Reimagining Columbus Circle,” by Karen Finley
Think of Columbus Circle as a mandala – a circular intersection that connects the crossing of transportation, recreation, museum life, information age – all under the mantel of the Columbus monument, a symbol of conquest. The destruction and reuse of native pathways are taken for granted and forgotten with the not-so-subtle view of CNN as a backdrop for America’s news. On Mandala: Reimagining Columbus Circle, Karen Finley will lead participants as we question and consider the circular intersection and all of its complexities, challenges and possibilities. The group will be encouraged to generate their own creative responses that question urban forms today.
This walk holds 12 people and is co-presented with Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP).
Research Assistant: Caitlin Blanchfield
Friday, September 26, 2014; 12:00pm
Saturday, September 27, 2014; 11:00am
Saturday, September 27, 2014; 3:00pm
Starting Point: This walk will meet at the Columbus statue in the middle of Columbus Circle in Manhattan.
Duration: 90 minutes
Age: 18+
“Let It Go: A Tashlich Walk,” by Amichai Lau-Lavie & Shawn Shafner
Join ritualists Amichai Lau-Lavie and Shawn Shafner on a Judeo-Pagan walk in Manhattan during the first week of the Jewish New Year. Participants will radically revise Tashlich, the annual Jewish shedding ceremony, in which breadcrumbs are substituted for transgressions and thrown into a living body of water. The group will walk from Hell's Kitchen down to the river, pausing to cast away our private and public histories: discarding assumptions, handing over possessions and making room for change.
This walk holds 30 people and is presented in partnership with Lab/Shul.
Friday, September 26, 2014; 3:00pm
Tuesday, September 30, 2014; 10:00pm
Starting Point: 325 W. 49th Street; Manhattan (This walk will meet in front of Starbucks. Please bring an item of clothing or household utensil that you’d like to get rid of.)
Duration: 90 minutes
Age: 13+
“Downside Up,” by Kristin Geneve Young
Gravity is a given. Its anchor is a constant force within constant spin. By changing our physical orientation in space, we may fundamentally upend, well, just about everything.
For Downside Up, Kristin Geneve Young will lead participants in challenging their senses of vision, equilibrium and proprioception. Balance tests, climbing exercises and aerial inversions will be used to focus the senses throughout the walk, inviting the group to respond to overlooked pockets of Midtown.
This walk holds 12 people and is presented in partnership with Aerial Arts NYC.
Saturday, September 27, 2014; 5:00pm
Saturday, October 4, 2014; 5:00pm
Starting Point: 211 E 51st Street; Manhattan; Please wear snug-fitting workout clothes (think: yoga pants)
Duration: 90 minutes
Age: 16+
“Signature Walk,” by Todd Shalom
Signature Walk takes you through a selection of Elastic City's playful and poetic ways of experiencing the city. We might make monuments with our bodies in response to monuments in public space, craft visual poems from found objects, create songs using text from storefronts and so much more.
This walk holds 12 people.
Monday, September 29, 2014; 10:00pm
Wednesday, October 1, 2014; 7:30pm
Starting Point: 51 Lincoln Road; Brooklyn (This walk will meet outside of Lincoln Park Tavern.)
Duration: 75 minutes
Language: The walk will be held in English but Todd also speaks Spanish.
All ages
“Twelve Grey Lemons,” by Nisan Haymain     
A Persian grey lemon is debatably both and neither a fruit and a spice. Its vague status helps it easily cross through international borders.
For Twelve Grey Lemons, urbanist/artist Nisan Haymian will lead participants down personal paths that define the cultural Persian landscapes of New York, questioning concepts of urban immigration, hybrid identity, civic imagination and the politics of self. In this immersive walk, the group may delight in new ways of tasting familiar flavors while getting an inside scoop from local residents.
Twelve Grey Lemons stars 12 artists and is made possible through the generous support of Asylum Arts.
Monday, September 29, 2014; 7:30pm
Wednesday, October 1, 2014; 7:30pm
Starting Point: 16 W. 8th Street; Manhattan (This walk will meet outside of Cafe Nadery)
Duration: 90 minutes
All ages
“Dark Hour/Light Moment,” by Anthony Goicolea
Nighttime changes our perception of things. It changes the way we think and feel as it casts inky shadows that morph surroundings into other worlds. Join Anthony Goicolea on an evening walk away from the city. No lights, no phones, no GPS. From there, Anthony will stage the group for the camera, as we play with light in the dark of the woods.
This walk holds 10 people and is co-presented with Brooklyn Museum as part of the "Crossing Brooklyn" exhibition.
Date/Time: Saturday, October 4, 2014; 6:30pm
Starting Point: The starting point will be revealed to participants upon sign-up. It will be near the Graham stop on the L train in Brooklyn.
Duration: 4 hours
Age: 13+
“Favorites,” by Sarah Schulman, Todd Shalom & Niegel Smith
The beauty, class mix and historical depth of the West Village once inspired and produced political and artistic ideas for the world. Now it is defined by excess, simulacra and homogenization. Favorites by Sarah Schulman, Todd Shalom and Niegel Smith will engage participants in the generational class-clash in the West Village, uncovering, contrasting and performing its past and present. The walk will be enhanced by the memories and current realities of queer tenants, who will reveal their favorite places that are gone and their favorite places that remain.
Favorites holds 15 people and is co-presented with Brooklyn Museum as part of the "Crossing Brooklyn" exhibition.
Date/Time: Sunday, October 5, 2014; 12:00pm
Starting Point: The southwest corner of West 12th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan
Duration: 2 hours
All Ages
“Playing with Steps,” by Michel Groisman
For Playing with Steps, participants will use unusual equipment devised by Michel Groisman to touch and be touched by the ground. And the ground can be anything: a pillow, a sheet of paper, a sound, the simple presence of another. Michel will lead the group in experimenting with different ways of walking—simultaneously outside and in, as every step outwards is a step inwards and vice-versa.
Playing with Steps holds 12 people and is open to all abilities.
Note from Michel: When my wife was two months pregnant, I gradually lost my ability to walk. Actually, I could walk, but only backwards. I could run forward, but could not walk. Now I'm getting better, but I’ve felt this way for almost 2 years.
Sunday, October 5, 2014; 4:00pm
Monday, October 6, 2014; 4:00pm
Starting Point: 33 E. 17th Street; Manhattan (This walk will meet in front of Barnes & Noble in Union Square.)
Duration: 90 minutes
Language: The walk will be held in English but Michel also speaks Portuguese.
All ages
Since 2010, Elastic City has been working with artists to rigorously investigate and interrogate the participatory walk. Through this work, the organization has helped to pioneer a new genre within the performing arts. During the talks, moderators, panelists and participants will examine the participatory walk and its related forms while questioning its history, present and potential for the future.
In partnership with Pratt Institute’s new MFA in Writing, Elastic City is thrilled to present four talks featuring renown visual and performance artists, curators, scholars and critics on Sunday, September 28, 2014 at Pratt Institute’s Higgins Hall Auditorium (61 St. James Place, Brooklyn) from 11am to 5:30pm.
Each talk will hold approximately 75 people and will last about 90 minutes.
Specific talk details are below:
Sunday, September 28, 2014
11:00am – 12:30pm: A Genealogy of the Participatory Walk
The junction of creative thoughts and walks has its western roots in Aristotelian philosophy, where the act of walking was directly related to constructive ideas and actions. One immense historical lap later, the Surrealists, the Situationists, artists working on soundwalks, walking tour guides and artists that have solo or collective walking practices have deepened the concept of creative ambulation. The four presenters will explain their walking practices in the context of their respective artistic and historical backgrounds, pinpointing the varying levels of participation and inspiration involved in their work, and where they think the walk form is moving.
Featuring: Matt Green, Jeffrey Hogrefe, Aseman Sabet (moderator),
Andrea Williams and Moira Williams
Sunday, September 28, 2014
12:30pm – 2pm: Politics of the Walk
This talk will question and explore the political implications of walking as a form of cultural production. How has the walk (wandering, strolling, getting lost) been figured as political resistance in previous eras? What types of engagement or resistances are made possible by singular or collective somatic movement in urban spaces? What new bodies and bodies of knowledge are made possible by—and necessitate—taking to the streets? What damaging ideologies can be overturned by bodies claiming public space? Does the increased interest in the walk as an art form articulate a necessary gesture of resistance against a speed-obsessed techno-capitalist machinery? To the disciplinary and bureaucratic regimes of urban planning? The talk will investigate these questions, and more, with lots of opportunity for dialogue and exchange with the audience.
Featuring: Christian Hawkey (moderator), Rachel Levitsky, Eve Mosher and
Ryan Tracy
Sunday, September 28, 2014
2:30pm – 4pm: The Participatory Walk as a New Performative Framework
Artists who have led walks with Elastic City will talk about how their other work has been informed by leading a participatory walk. How does the walk function in harmony with and in contrast to the artists’ primary discipline and their ways of working? What makes for a successful walk? Is this a viable form? Hyperallergic Senior Editor Jillian Steinhauer will provide context for the walk in relation to the growing trend of participation in art.
Featuring: luciana achugar, Miguel Gutierrez, Todd Shalom (moderator), Jillian Steinhauer and Pamela Z
Sunday, September 28, 2014
4pm – 5:30pm: Impossibility in Participatory Performance
Ayesha Jordan, Nancy Nowacek and Veit Stratmann will join moderator Niegel Smith in a living room style conversation that questions the limits of what is possible in participatory performance. The artists will respond to real-time prompts and think on their feet as a way to expose their individual methodologies. Join us as we consider the motivations and intentions behind participatory performance and perhaps provide some inspiration for those who dare to dream big.
Featuring: Ayesha Jordan, Nancy Nowacek, Niegel Smith (moderator), Veit Stratmann
On Tuesday, October 7, 2014 from 7-10pm, Elastic City will host an open-bar benefit party for approximately 150 guests at Jack Geary Contemporary, at 185 Varick Street in SoHo. The event will bring together donors, artists, academics, creative professionals, sponsors and fans.
The party will start off in whispers and will change throughout the night, as artists re-define the space. There will be a raffle, silent auction, and more.
Tickets, $40 each, can be purchased at http://www.elastic-city.org/donate
Elastic City is now in its fifth year of presenting participatory walks by artists throughout and outside of New York. By the end of 2014, over 80 artists will have led walks in New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Berlin, Buenos Aires, London, Mexico City, Montreal, Paris, Reykjavik, São Paulo and Tokyo.
Todd Shalom, a New York native, devised Elastic City while traveling in Peru and founded the organization in 2010. Having worked in a variety of artistic genres (poetry, sound and performance), he decided to expand upon his existing repertoire of sensory-based walks and commission other artists to lead walks in their own disciplines. Todd works with each artist to help adapt their ideas to the walk format. Elastic City walks explore various planes of human sensory and aesthetic experience, such as dance, architecture, poetry, sound art, the paranormal and ritualistic performance.
In 2012, Elastic City launched its educational program, beginning with a series of “ways.” Whereas a walk offers the opportunity to participate in a narrative series of poetic moments, "ways" are experiential workshops that explicitly engage participants in *how* to generate these moments through exercises, tools and techniques offered by Elastic City artists. In a "way," participants gather in an intimate group to prompt exchange, tone one's gut feeling and sharpen poetic decision-making. Elastic City ways typically do not involve walking and are offered outdoors unless otherwise noted.
In 2013, Elastic City has launched Willing Participant with support from The New Museum's Education Department. Willing Participant whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy stuff that happens. http://www.willingparticipant.org
Elastic City has been commissioned by the following organizations to create new walks, ways and participatory performances: The Abrons Art Center, California College of the Arts, Clark Gallery (Montreal), Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, The Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, Performance Space 122, Pratt Institute, Prelude Festival, Residency Unlimited, River to River Festival, SculptureCenter, Times Square Arts, Visual AIDS and Wave Hill.
Elastic City has partnered with numerous organizations to present its walks and ways, including: American Realness, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Flea, Consulate General of Spain in New York, The Container (Tokyo), Friends of the High Line, Le Petit Versailles, Museum of the City of New York, NY Art Book Fair, Open House NY, Printed Matter, Reanimation Library, San Francisco Arts Commission, Staten Island Museum, Urban Design Week and White Spider (Mexico City).
Each walk & way lasts approximately 75-120 minutes. In 2014, all walks are free to the public.
2014 Festival identity: Asad Pervaiz
Signups can be made at the starting point if there is space or in advance via the Elastic City website at: http://www.elastic-city.org


+ Add An Event