Strolling Shadows

by | Oct 19, 2018 | Artwork #1: Score

Strolling Shadows

Go outside with someone. On a sunny day.

Take a stroll with them in the park.

One can only walk in the light. Other in the shadows.

Alternate every 2 minutes.

Artist’s Statement

Strolling Shadows is a piece that changes the daily flow of walking by adding another factor along with another person. The piece also tests the layout of the environment and the designs behind them in terms of the how much light there is in the area vs how much shadow there is due to buildings, trees or other pieces of their surroundings. It allows the two people involved to walk together but adding a game-like quality to it using the environment around them.

This piece was originally supposed to be for one person as it was mainly inspired by two pieces in Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. The first one is called WALKING PIECE which I liked the premise of following someone’s footsteps on any kind of terrain without making sounds and the very first idea of this was to walk only in the shadows while walking with other people and do so without letting the other person find out. I tested out this version and it tested a lot of my companion’s comfort range as for most of the walk, there were no shadows made through the buildings and since the shopping bags my companion was carrying was making a shadow, I got closer to them that I ever should.

The second one is called CITY PIECE, which really transformed my piece to the playable iteration. The instructions for this piece is to talk with a baby carriage and that gave me the idea for the piece to have a companion. It wasn’t comfortable to be walking and following the rules by myself. It felt entertaining for a little while, but the novelty wore off very soon when the strange looks got more frequent. So instead of doing the piece alone, adding another person would make the eventual odd looks less embarrassing especially when there’s someone else to share it with or another object.

Since it’d be boring for both people to stay in the shadows, one had to be in the light and the other in the shadow because that would allow for more opportunities for cooperation and in case someone gets stuck without a shadow then they can use the other person’s shadow while if there’s an area covered in shadow then the person in shadow can use the flashlight function on their phone to help the other person cross the terrain.


Go outside with someone.

Take a stroll.

One can only walk in the light. Other in the shadows.

Alternate every 4 minutes.

(This was the version used for this test)

The first usable run had two people using these rules and walking through a designated path from Northeastern campus, through Fenway park, and then through a section in the city to Target. It was hard to run this for awhile because for most of the week, the weather was filled with overcasts and so no shadows came from the buildings. This was eventually changed to specifically a sunny day and just the park in the final iteration. The time was switched to two minutes due to the venue switching only to the park and for retention time.

This was the designated path because it goes through three different styles of architecture. When walking through Northeastern, the two participants were having a hard time walking through the centennial because there we decided to test the piece right before it was time to change classes and the two people stood either in light or shadow, switching and stepping side to side whenever the timer was up, until the crowds of students cleared. The two had to find different ways to get out of campus. because the campus had one way with lot buildings whose road was completely in shadow. There was a way with a much more light so the two decided to wait until the remaining time before they switch was up and then ran away for four minutes then meet back together at some point.

When they reached the park, it went much better because the trees were more spread out, less buildings, more room, and less people so it was much easier the participants to move around the area. The feedback from this area was that the walk was much more enjoyable because it was relaxing to leisurely walk around the area and not follow rules of crossing the road or worrying about getting in people’s way.

Finally though the city section was the most stressful for the participants and there were many times they asked to stop because there were multiple groups of tourists or a rather intimidating group of people in business suits who they were going to get in the way of. The most interesting moment was that the person who had to be in shadows for a while couldn’t reach another shadow and jumped into the shadow of a shopping bag held by a random stranger. Then the person in the light had to run back and tell them to jump into their shadow. Then we all ran away, saying a quick apology.