• Site, Sight, Cite: (Re)Making Locational Identity through Walking and Performance

      Layton, James R.; Molony, Richard; University of Chester (2015-04-16)
      In August 2014, James Layton, Richard Molony and Julian Waite (University of Chester) conceived and presented a participatory performance titled (V)-Is-it Chester?, in which spectators were invited on a walking tour of Chester city centre, reimagining its history and present day reality. Currently, Layton and Molony are using the seeds of this performance to curate a community project that employs participatory performance and walking art practice as a means of engaging a range of Chester residents in the arts. The participants will be invited to make connections between their own identities and familiar locations, thus foregrounding autobiographical and non-rational associations (Smith, 2010). Through the (re)exploration of locational identities, Site, Sight, Cite aims to raise awareness of and engagement in the arts in Chester as the city's new arts centre moves towards completion in 2016. Site, Sight, Cite aims to work with participants in creating their own personal histories of the city. In doing so, the project draws upon notions of 'sited community' (Kwon 2004); performative walking (Smith, 2010; 2014; Heddon, 2012; Mock, 2009), mythogeography (Wrights & Sites, 2006; 2010), and relational aesthetics (Bourriaud, 2002). In this paper, the authors offer a prognosis for the future of the arts in Chester and how, through engaging the city's denizens in walking art practice, locational identity can be (re)examined and (re)evaluated.