With CAMINANTE: Walking Wage NYC I continue the explorations initiated last year in Spain where I spent the month of April walking Madrid. Wearing the traditional workman's coveralls labeled (as is customary in Spain) with the trade/profession--CAMINANTE, in my case--across the back, I recycled ideas proposed by one of the most famous lines of Spanish poetry, Antonio Machado's:
"Caminante, no hay camino, se hace el camino al andar".
Translated, we run into a bit of a problem with how literal we should be taking Machado. By Caminante does he really mean walker? Or are we talking about a wanderer or seeker?
"Walker, there is no road, the road is made by walking."
"Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking."
At the turn of last century Spain was looking to regroup after losing its last imperial holdings in the Philippines and Cuba to the United States, thereby marking the final days of the Spanish Empire. Machado, and his cohort of Generation of '98 poets and thinkers, writing at this important juncture in Spanish history, saw Spain recreating and redefining itself for the world. Today, current economic conditions on the Iberian peninsula have required a similar redefinition at all scales, from the national to household levels. Some calculate unemployment rates to be 25% nationally.
The CAMINANTE Project--of which this performance is a part--initially sought to propose a rethinking of work by calling on un/employed would-be-seekers to formally recognize--or, perhaps, initiate for the first time--their engagement with different forms of labor and/or (depending on your own translation) opt for personal poetic development at a time of so-called crisis. At the same time it sought to critique an economic system--and the state-sponsored mechanisms that keep it running--which did/does not readily recognize certain forms of labor nor care about your personal poetic development. In a way, CAMINANTE sought to intervene in this duality of structure/agency.
The CAMINANTE Project continues to evolve in its different geographies with different walks taking place in downtown Cincinnati in June 2013 and New York City (Brooklyn & Manhattan) in June and December 2013. This proposed work-week-long performance is framed by the practical economics of the living wage--a very publicized concept these days--as a way to further explore the role of the CAMINANTE in our current economic times and spaces.
Each day I plan to don the CAMINANTE coveralls and catch the train to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, NY. I plan to walk 8 hours each of 5 days just like a regular work week and commute at peak hours with everybody else heading to work. This train route crosses through lower Fairfield County, home to thousands of people working in NYC.
Your pledge money will help cover the costs related to the following:
- commuting to/from CT & NYC each day
- the increase in caloric needs
- the production of the related artifacts (i.e. postcards, posters, maps).
My calculation is equal to the LIVING WAGE as per MIT's calculator linked here: http://livingwage.mit.edu/places/3606151000. In New York County (Manhattan) the living hourly wage for one single adult is $12.75. Therefore, 40 hours x 12.75 = $510.00.
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Risks and challenges
Weather seems to get in the way of good walks sometimes. I may be tested this way but don't expect major difficulties. The US Postal Service stands behind their oft misquoted, "neither snow nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
Me, too. I will walk my best.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (13 days)