Last year we walked the entire length of the 2,180 mile/3,500 kilometer Appalachian Trail in 5 months--immersing ourselves in this iconic American place named for "the people on the other side." While strenuous and difficult, our walking moved beyond the physical encounter with rocks, roots and ridgelines. We sought a poetic engagement with the Trail and its genius loci, or spirit of place. Through various methods and methodologies we slowly built a collection of representations of the Trail, of the walk and of the spaces in between. Now, sifting through our hundreds of photographs, dozens of videos, and hours of recorded monologue we are curating material to see what narratives peek out at us. We are telling those stories here in Spain through a series of talks/presentations and, hopefully, one photo exhibition.
Well, at least one to start......
Back in March we were invited to give our first talk at Club Nemus, one of the oldest mountaineering clubs in Madrid. This presentation, entitled Thru Hiking en Los Apalaches, focused on how to prepare yourself for the challenges of completing a thru-hike. We discussed gear, food and where to sleep. This was a nuts and bolts talk about logistics--perfect for our audience of hikers and climbers. http://clubnemus.weebly.com/
Our second talk, or charla, is bi-lingual and scheduled for May 8th at La Ciudad Invisible, a cafe/bookshop/cultural center in downtown Madrid that focuses on global travel and provides a space for cultural exchange. Here we will present The People on The Other Side: América (a pie) por la Ruta de los Apalaches. This poetics of the Trail mixes photography, audio, video and a series of short personal narratives and engaging dialogues that describe our encounter with this America through both the limits of our lenses and soles of our shoes. http://www.laciudad-invisible.com/
A third is planned for a presentation on the history of this National Scenic Trail and, more specifically, the conservation of this green corridor through "Leave No Trace" and backcountry ethics. This will be sponsored by the City of Madrid and held at the Center for Environmental Education at Dehesa de la Villa. Funny enough, we will give that talk on the 4th of July. http://www.actividadesambientalesdehesa.es/
Our Next Step: Photo Exhibition
Other Side(s) of America: La Ruta de Los Apalaches is a bi-lingual introduction to American cultural and natural landscapes that are generally out of view of the tourist and media gaze. Walking the Appalachian Trail means passing through small town America and large nationally-managed green spaces. It brings you to the classical diner and the small college town. It allows you to hitch-hike and open your eyes even further to the quiet generosity of trail magic and anonymous helping hands. Walking the Trail is immersion into a different America with a rhythm and pace all of its own. There you might even find your own rhythm has different gears.
For this Kickstarter campaign, we are asking for your help in setting up a photo exhibition of Sonia's original photography (and maybe one or two of Kevin's photos) which tells this story of the other side of the Atlantic. The funds raised will directly support installation costs--printing and minimalist framing--for 35 photos and the accompanying text panels in English and Spanish. We will use any remaining funds to offset costs for the simple reception at the Centro de Interpretación El Molón where we will serve Appalachian Trail treats with a Spanish flare. Think trail mix with local almonds and free water from the local spring! The Centro is located in Sonia's small hometown of Camporrobles in Valencia.
This project has been a creative endeavor for both of us from the start and we continue to frame this experience--pre-walk, walk, post-walk--as a cross-cultural exchange and collaboration between two people and two pairs of feet. This was Sonia's first trip to the United States. This was my Great American Pilgrimage. We both see this work as part of cross-cultural understanding and as a way to show an America that exists beyond the media representations both in Spain and the United States--an America, perhaps, with different possibilities and a different trajectory.
If there is a long-term goal from this exhibition it is to be able to pack it up and show it elsewhere or develop it even further, perhaps. This is why we will do text in English, too. There is nothing stopping us from showing it in other venues. We are connecting small town America with small town Spain. But who knows where these things go.....
This link brings you to some media coverage we received from the walk: http://blog.ctnews.com/connecticutpostings/2014/01/07/woman-from-spain-hikes-the-at-a-new-first/
The funds will go directly to cover the costs of the following materials.
$350 -- Photographs and minimalist framing
$150 -- Bilingual text panels
$10 -- Publicity posters
Risks and challenges
We are proposing to do this all within a short window of time. We would have 6 weeks or so to prepare everything. But we will have practiced the talk/charla in different venues. The photos have already been selected--for both their storytelling and photographic quality. Just need to print, frame and finalize written text pieces. The use of the Centro has already been approved.
Our artist friend NKO who collaborated on The CAMINANTE Project explained it best: "I don't have loot now, but am definitely time rich." That is how we feel.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (16 days)