The Art of Wandering, Wandering Artists: Artists’ Practices as Travel and Travelogue. Symposium in KAVA 5th October

The Art of Wandering, Wandering Artists:

Artists’ Practices as Travel and Travelogue

A symposium organised by Paul Landon

Saturday 5 October 2013, 10h -16h, Free admission

KAVA Kansallinen audiovisuaalinen arkisto, Sörnäisten rantatie 25, 00500 Helsinki

The symposium is organised by Paul Landon as part of his doctoral studies for the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Landon’s research explores the activities of wandering and travelling as contemporary artistic practices and considers the devices and structures, both material and abstract, informing and affecting these activities.

Like writers, many visual artists travel for inspiration, to open their eyes, to see the anomalies and insignificant details particular to every place and to understand their own connections to these places. With the accessibility of Internet travel, with the proliferation of inexpensive flights and the easing of border restrictions in much of Europe, the experience of travel risks becoming homogenised and predictable. Instead of opening up our imagination to unexpected anomalies and details, much travel today tends to reaffirm the limitations of our consciousness of our contemporary cultures and social environments. This symposium investigates whether travel as an activity privileging chance, exploration and imagination is still possible for artists. It looks to the kinds of practices that the travelling artist may favour, particularly writing and lens based media practices, photography, film and video, and the forms these may take, the photo essay, the travelogue and the road movie.

Invited Speakers

Martin Beck is a Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and an artist whose exhibitions and projects engage questions of historicity and authorship, drawing from the fields of architecture, design, and popular culture. A ‘leitmotif’ in Beck’s practice is the notion of display: his works often engage histories of exhibiting and communication formats and, on a material level, negotiate display’s function as a condition of image-making. Recent exhibitions and projects include Last Night at Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland (2013), Presentation at 47 Canal in New York and the particular way in which a thing exists at Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal, (2012). Beck is the author of an Exhibit viewed played populated (2005), About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe (2007), and the editor of The Aspen Complex (2012).

Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes is Professor of Iconology, teaching History and Theory of Art at the University of Ulster, Belfast. She studied at the universities of Heidelberg, London, Bonn and Cologne, where she gained her PhD in 2000. Her research focuses on word and image studies, particularly the visual legacies of (Irish) writers (Joyce, Beckett), while also considering the historiography of art and curation. Rooted in Joseph Beuys studies, she has an interest in sculpture, performance and engaged, multi-disciplinary practices, as well as post-War histories. Her publications include the books Post-War Germany and ‘Objective Chance’: W.G. Sebald, Joseph Beuys and Tacita Dean (Steidl 2008, 2011), James Joyce als Inspirationsquelle für Joseph Beuys (Olms 2001), and Joyce in Art: Visual Art Inspired by James Joyce (Lilliput 2004).

Roger Palmer is an artist based in Glasgow and Emeritus Professor of Fine Art at the University of Leeds. He works primarily with landscape photographs, often referencing unremarkable details of topography, vernacular architecture and roadside infrastructure encountered in different parts of the world. Travelling, for Palmer, represents a concentrated search for something that cannot readily be seen, but which might emerge through a photographic encounter in unfamiliar territory. Palmer’s work has been exhibited internationally. His solo publications include Circulation (Fotohof edition, Salzburg, 2012), Shanty (Aspex Visual Arts Trust, Portsmouth, 2008), and Precious Metals (Serpentine Gallery, London/ Cambridge Darkroom, 1986). A new book, Macao Macau (Roger Palmer & Tim Simpson, Black Dog Publishing, London), is due early in 2014.


Paul Landon is a professor of Media Arts at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has exhibited internationally, including the Rencontres internationales Paris/Berlin (2007) and libre < échange, Galerie de l'UQAM, Montréal (2007), and in recent solo exhibitions in Helsinki at Galleria Jangva (2011) and Galleia Huuto (2011). His work is in public collections, including the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the Musée des beaux-arts du Québec. A graduate of the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (1989), Landon is pursuing research towards a Doctorate of Fine Arts in Helsinki. More information: henri.wegelius (at)