Elastic City intends to make its audience active participants in an ongoing poetic exchange with the places we live in and visit.
Artists are commissioned by Elastic City to create their own walks for the public. These walks are participatory and may rely on sensory-based techniques, the creation of new folk rituals and/or other artist-derived exercises to explore one's self, the group and a given space.
Elastic City's programming in 2014 will consist of a free, two-week New York City-based participatory walk festival in September and a series of artist-led workshops (a.k.a. "ways") throughout the year. Elastic City will also offer other walks and ways for the public and for private groups, as commissioned.
*If you're not sure what a participatory walk is, check out the short videos on our "Videos" page for some context.
Highlights from Elastic City's History
From 2010-2013, over 68 artists have led over 86 new walks and ways, given anywhere from one to six times.
Elastic City launched with a walk in Orangeburg, New York and monthly promotional stints at Brooklyn Flea. Eleven artists led walks through New York City, with one set of walks in Buenos Aires. Elastic City formed its first partnership with Residency Unlimited.
Twenty-one artists led walks throughout New York City, with one walk in São Paulo and a fifty-six hour walk by Niegel Smith that flew from New York to Detroit. Students from Pratt Institute began leading walks as part of their course, "The Walk as Poem" by Todd Shalom. In September 2011, Elastic City was cartooned in a two-page feature by Roz Chast in The New Yorker.
Elastic City started its educational program, consisting of artist-led participatory workshops (a.k.a. "ways"). Twenty-eight artists led walks and ways throughout New York City, with sets of walks in San Francisco, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Paris, and Reykjavik. Elastic City ramped up its partnerships with organizations -- 2012 partners included: Friends of the High Line, Museum of the City of New York and Printed Matter. Elastic City became a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization.
Twenty artists led walks and ways throughout New York City, with sets of walks in Wilmington, Mexico City, Montreal and Tokyo. Elastic City launched its poetic activist arm, Willing Participant with support from The New Museum's Education Department. Willing Participant whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy shit that happens. Elastic City held its first-ever in-person benefit with 150 attendees at EFA Project Space. Elastic City received commissions from various organizations and institutions, including: Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, The Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, Performance Space 122, Prelude Festival, River to River Festival and Stanford University.
For a complete list of organizational partners and those who have commissioned walks, please click here.
Elastic City is directed by Todd Shalom. He realized the idea while suffering from altitude sickness in Cusco, Peru.
Click here to learn more about who works with the organization; here to read what people on the walks/ways think about their experience, here to view an archive of all walks/ways/performances, and here to see photos galore.
Finally, please see our FAQ for some practical walk and way Q&A.