Ways of mind-walking: reading, writing, painting

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78 Citations (Scopus)


What is the difference between walking on the ground, in the landscapes of 'real life', and walking in the imagination, as in reading, writing, painting or listening to music? What does it mean to describe these various practices of walking as either visual or non-visual? In this article, the author approaches these questions through a comparison of answers gleaned from four sources: the monastic practices of early medieval Europe; the painting tradition of the Yolngu, an Aboriginal people of northeast Arnhem Land, Australia; the writings of the great pioneer of modern abstract art, Wassily Kandinsky; and a treatise by the tenth-century Chinese landscape painter Ching Hao. He concludes that the terrains of the imagination and the physical environment, far from existing on distinct ontological levels, run into one another to the extent of being barely distinguishable. Both, however, are inhabited by forms that give outward, sensible shape to an inner generative impulse that is life itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalVisual Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


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