Seven Ages: The Walking Figure

In October 2009, I began an informal working relationship with the Podiatry Department at Salford University.  I had already embarked on a body of work concerned with the universal human activity of walking provisionally titled ‘Seven Ages: The Walking Figure’

My purpose in first approaching the Podiatry Department was to underpin this work with a study of the mechanics of walking, starting in the anatomy department with students and making studies in the Gait Measuring Laboratory where computer generated images and video footage are used to analyse every aspect of each individual patient’s gait.

I have found this area to be utterly compelling. To date, most of the individuals that I have worked with have been children with cerebral palsy. I have made drawings as they are examined by the physiotherapist and then as they have walked repeatedly between two fixed points in the Gait Measuring laboratory.

I have been drawn to the extraordinary choreography of these short journeys, the courage of each child and the heroic support of their families.  The drawings also chart an exciting interaction between the oldest of technologies – making marks on paper or canvas with pigment, and the latest computer generated data and imagery.

I have discussed the idea of an exhibition at The Chapman Gallery with Arts Development Manager Ian Whiteside and accordingly I would like to explore the possibility, raised informally with staff in the Podiatry Department, to organise a residency within the Podiatry Department to continue this area of my work in preparation for the proposed exhibition.