Take a guided walk here

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The way from home project invited refugees and asylum seekers from Plymouth, UK, to make a map from a place they call home to a special place. Following this map as a guide, a walk was then taken in Plymouth, superimposing landmarks of the city over the map of their home. You are invited to follow five of these walks presented here through an interactive three-dimensional version of each walker's original map along with audio recordings of the walker's responses to the score.

New 'diagrams of place' are created as the re-called, mental landscapes become an interpretive layer superimposed over traditional state maps. These maps become a series of personal identifications of place challenging the static nature of territory-maps or of territorial notions of place which exclude or make invisible the dynamic flow of peoples resulting from current and historical political and economic global events.

Misha Myers first created the project's walking score in the build up to the war with Iraq and after visiting a refugee support organisation with the intention to meet Iraqi artists to initiate collaboration or exchange. There she met a young Kurdish actor who worked at the organisation as a refugee support worker and was a political refugee himself. Myers then developed the score and invited him to take the walk. The day they agreed to meet was coincidently the same day the war in Iraq began. The walk uncannily superimposed his home in Mossul, which would be bombed in the war two days later, with the Hoe of Plymouth where armed soldiers stood guard at the Royal Citadel and battleships were departing for Iraq from the Plymouth sound.

As the dialogue continued, the walk eventually developed into a collaboration between Myers, the refugee support organisation and Dan Harris of the media design team limbomedia. From this collaboration the project developed to extend the invitation to take the walk to other refugees living in Plymouth, UK.

With each individual that followed the steps of the score, they were reinvented. For some it was useful for creating a sense of belonging or familiarity with a place, for initiating connections where there was estrangement, for generating an autobiographical map or mnemonic of a life journey and for others it was a painful reminder of differences and the desire to return. Through the project the score continues to be reinvented to facilitate dialogue between public officials, such as, police officers, immigration officials, city councillors, housing officers, etc., and refugees and asylum seekers.

FUTURE PROJECT WORK

As part of Refugees Week 2004, public officials who impact on the everyday lives of refugees and asylum seeker, such as, police officers, immigration officials, city councillors, housing officers, etc., have been invited to take the walk with a refugee or asylum seeker using the score as a means of facilitating a dialogue which may potentially reveal the needs and experiences of this community in the city.

A DVD version of the walks is published in the 'On the Page' June issue of Performance Research Journal. The DVD will be exhibited as part of an exhibition in the Millais Gallery, Southampton, 11 November 2004 - 29 January 2005, accompanying the "Art in the Age of Terrorism: Interdisciplinary Conference" organized by the Fine Art Research Centre, FMAS, Southampton Institute.

Through the VocaLatitude project Misha Myers' directed the creation of a song map of Plymouth composed and performed by international residents of Plymouth and students from Dartington College of Arts. The members of the group are originally from Algeria, Afghanistan, Estonia, Germany, Jordan, Kurdistan, Russia, UK and USA and the songs are based on walks they took together through the city. To receive a free copy of this CD, write to Misha Myers at m.myers@dartington.ac.uk

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