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Sunday, August 19, 2012
Single file. Slow pace. Silent. An art installation set in one of the most beautiful swathes of Norfolk countryside relaxes its participants and shines a new light on their surroundings.
Walking through the Norfolk countryside is nothing exceptional for those that live here.
We know the thousand mile skies, sweeping farmland and lumpen dunes.
But in creating Walking, Robert Wilson can make even those born and bred here look anew at the place they live in.
Consisting of a three-mile walk that idles through the countryside around Holkham - mostly areas not normally open to the public - the piece forces you to relax into your surroundings and take a longer look at what we so often take for granted.
It opens with a giant blunt and ugly installation imposed on the countryside, guarded by yellow-suited high priests who demurely guide you in. It throbs noisily and ominously, plunges you into darkness, then guides you into a surreal waiting room that forces a stillness. It slows you to a gentler pace, as one by one the walkers drift off along a path marked by white stones and sticks.
It is that change of tempo rather than any of the installations themselves - of which there are disappointingly few - that really gives this experience power.
Stripped of phones, music players, watches even, you are left to really look, hear, smell the world around you.
The habitat is diverse: from watercourses with dragonflies swarming over to sinister, gnarled woodland to teasing glimpses of Holkham’s famous shoreline; and it is the countryside that is the true canvas. Wilson’s artistry isn’t in the architectural pieces that punctuate the walk, but in controlling your emotions and your experience as you journey through the trail.
The end offers a playful, surprising twist, and as with the rest of this event takes you both deep into and beyond the landscape it inhabits.
Walking continues daily, 11am to 3pm until September 2. Visit www.nnf12.org.uk or call 01603 766400 for details.