Sanded Steps, Standing Over Stones (2017-18)

Live art event, sand, brooms, paper, found text.


Images respectively from the live art events Walking, Resting, Place-making (2018, Victoria Stanton, Montreal, CA); Embodied Cartographies (2017, Fay Stevens, Bath, UK). Performers are Julie Laurin, Frédérique Blanchard, Nick Yeretsian; and Lydia Halcrow, Doug Clark, Jessica Shephard. Photographs by Victoria Stanton, Rojin Shafiei, and Ryan Wynn.



Four people stand apart and over an area of sand spread throughout Kingsmead Square. In plain view, they gently sweep the sand - But who notices? Are the four ‘occupying' the public square? Or holding a spot, a symbolically private island? The questions are open. The work goes as it appears: Throughout the afternoon each of these four people step from one end of the sand to another. Each slowly sweeps away footprints left from the other. Sometimes one person stops walking. Another walks over, moving them on. 'Move on' another suddenly cries, 'nothing to see!' Another cries 'Under the stones is the beach!' These and other statements are abruptly said, echoing public demonstrations from 1968 to present day. Either way the work goes on, sweeping, stepping, stopping, then walking or pacing again, and so forth… until all the sand is swept across the stones. The collective action becomes traceless. Metaphors of change, work, and everyday life are symbolically cleared. The public square is swept.

–  Description of the work for Embodied Cartographies, May 2017 –


In Montreal, texts found from the 'political left', intellectuals from the 1960's (especially May '68 generation) to present, such as Occupy in 2008, were read out by audiences. Texts included Marcuse, Horkheimer, Adorno, Fanon, Meinhoff, Badiou, and Malik, amongst others; and audiences were asked to such texts aloud (see video below).