From menstrual blood on white pants, to imperial power walks, to running with heartbreak: an ode to walking by author Jovana Reisinger.

S. likes to walk so much and to such excess that he is writing his doctoral thesis about it. Ever since I've known S., he's been walking through cities, the countryside, villages and across borders, the only difference being that now it’s all for research purposes. When S. and I were still going out, he once said that we didn’t need to date – we were so meant for each other, we would meet by chance anyway. We didn’t see each other for weeks, although we lived in the same city, and then it was over. Most of the people I dated after that didn’t like to go for walks. Once there was a conflict in the relationship because of my partner’s lack of interest in walking and that led to a crisis. K. goes for a walk because she wants to make her feelings palpable so her pace adapts to her emotional state and what then happen fairly often is that she really runs through the area or strolls terribly slowly and dreamily.

Allora & Calzadilla, Land Mark (Foot Prints), 2001–02 © Allora & Calzadilla / Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris

E. liked walking and apparently kept up such a pace that hardly anyone could keep up with her impressive power walking and as a result several reports were made about her excellent physical fitness that caused trouble at court. The other day J. and I set out for a stroll relaxed after the after-hour high and walked up to the neighborhood where he now lives, and I happened to be invited to a brunch. The sun was shining and there was a promising smell of spring in the air, but we were still freezing – and not just because we were tired. On the bridge we stopped for a moment and looked down at the river, along whose banks the owners were already walking their dogs and everyone seemed content somehow. But it was Sunday morning, after all. When P. hurt me so badly recently, I walked around town late at night despite the drizzle in an attempt to work through my disappointment and anger. While I walked, I was probably listening to female empowerment rap, but I can’t remember the soundtrack. Maybe it was the “love forever schmaltzy” playlist, but you can rest assured that I shed no tears. Possibly while doing this, I was also on the phone with C., we’ve gotten into the habit of doing that lately and I’m pretty sure we were both mad at P. just for the sake of being supportive.

 T. mentioned yesterday that she doesn’t like walking because it annoys her how the thoughts buzz around in her head and how she loses control in the process. X. said that the other day a man stepped out in front of her and fired a racist comment at her and to this day she doesn’t know if she reacted well. A. likes to walk the streets holding hands – that also goes for friends and I find that beautiful and always like to offer him my own hand to hold. W. once walked from Munich to Paris in order to make a grand gesture to death so that L. would not die. He then wrote a book about it and thinks that no one will be able to write as well about walking ever again because he is a genius. T. also wrote constantly about walking, but then again, he has been dead for a long time so he can’t make such megalomaniac statements.

Tiffany Chung, A Thousand Years Before and After, 2012, filmstill, © Tiffany Chung

Promenadology was founded by L. and is a cultural science as well as an aesthetic method, also called strollogy, and has many fans internationally. Several books have already been published on the subject and congresses convened to discuss it. M. is also a good walker, walking through the neighborhood every morning before the day even begins. He enjoys meeting the same people going about their daily routines. Restlessly N. walked by the side of G. and had no idea what to make of their situation. Then, when a gush of menstrual blood flowed out of him, it was almost unbearable for him to be kept in the dark like this and to wear white trousers – although the amount of blood was actually not that great and the menstrual underpants were very absorbent. G. left him a short time later and in the meantime, N. is walking around and chilling with someone else.

B. called recently and said he had thought of me during the walk because it had been so nice, but could not name the specific occasion. Instead, I told him about how, on the same day, a stranger had said to me during such a walk (venture) that he would like to have sexual intercourse with me. He would not be shaken off for several meters, which made me feel very threatened. There was a picture in P.’s home on which it said: “Don't go with God, but go!”, then she left for good herself and a clearance company decided all the picture was good for was to be put in the large trash can and so it was lost forever. I'm about to go home from the office and can’t wait to lie down. Going to bed is one of my favorite things right now.


18 February – 22 May 2022

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