DAVID PEARL   foot path

                                                              ‘The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language or to the statements uttered...

                                   it is a spatial acting-out of the place ... It thus seems possible to give a preliminary definition of walking as a space of enunciation.’

                                            Practices of Everyday Life, De Certeau. Part III Spatial Practices, Chapter VII, Walking in the City















                                                The Buddhists monks, photographed in a village near Kathmandu in 2001, are seen walking on a series of fabric pathways .

                                                They do not step on the street at all. The fabric has been continuously  laid out by villagers directly from the door as they emerge.

                                                As the monks finish walking on one section , it is rolled up and carried to the front of the procession and laid out again.

                                                The monks are therefore always walking metaphorically in the temple and not in the street. The temple is extended into the street,

                                                 the street becomes a temple. The space is transformed by the ritual and  it is the knowing that it is, that makes it so.

                                                 It is not fantasy, it is a conscious act of transformation of the world. This is the artifice of art












                                                              Leaf Path :

                                                                                 a two stage installation at the Bartlett in London that looked at the relationship of walking, ritual and architectural space.

                                                              I wanted with this piece to go back to basics about what sort of statement walking  is as a raw act in architecture.

                                                              In my work as an artist for architecture I was starting with many assumptions about how the work engaged the viewer,

                                                              without fully considering the a moving point of our perspective and perceptions. Walking initiates our narrative in architecture -

                                                              sets the time frame and point of reference, our bodies the measure of its scale.








In the second stage of the installation the leaf path has been replaced by a raised Luminous Glass Walkway.

It reflects on the idea of a space transformed by a path or materials from another space, this time a symbolic space.

A ritual walk created by perception . The act of walking is understood by implication.

The work speculates on walking and the path as means of illumination.


‘I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him,

and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.’     Peter Brook, The Empty Space, 1, The Deadly Theatre


                                                                                             David Pearl, The Bartlett, School of Architecture, UCL, London     






all text and images copyright David Pearl




                                                                           'I crumble to a fine invisible dust'...... from the Nigel Jenkins poem / collaboration with David Pearl, Princess of Wales Hospital, Wales          

Nigel Jenkins Poet / friend  1949 - 2014


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