How to Learn to Walk

How to Learn to Walk

by Alex Wolfe

I’ve always been someone who likes to walk, but it wasn’t until moving to New York City that I realized it could be the basis of my practice. For years I apprehensively made sculptures inside a windowless studio while yearning to be outside in the world. It took a long time, but the 15 items listed below gave me permission to finally leave the studio and “learn to walk.”

In 2018, I founded PEDESTRIAN, a platform for my walking based practice. The work produced finds value in the people, routines, and connections made as a result of moving through one’s everyday surroundings. In other words, it is for people who like to walk and move.

PEDESTRIAN began as a magazine but over the course of five issues evolved into a bi-weekly newsletter, t-shirt collaborations, commissioned walking routes, and most recently a 9 day, 180 mile walk I took from Brooklyn to Philadelphia appropriately titled “From Chopcheese to Cheesesteak.”

I’m often asked why walking is so important. The answer is simple: it is the most intimate way to experience the world around you. To walk is to be vulnerable, anyone can do it, and it may take any form one sees fit or is capable of doing; pay attention, move slowly, and let the world unfold in front of you.

While this list is deeply personal, I hope that you can find value in its contents. Please visit at your earliest convenience, in no particular order:

  1. Ben Kinmont, On Becoming Something Else

  2. Jem Cohen, Instrument
  1. Scott Carrier, The Green River
  1. Martine Syms & Marco Kane Braunschweiler, Reference Work
  1. Agnes Martin: Writings (If you can’t find the book, this video is worth watching in the meantime)
  1. Charles Bowden: On Writing 
  1. Alan Booth, The Roads to Sata (If you can’t pick it up, just watch this video
  1. Craig Mod, On Being a Good Newsletter 
  1. Studs Terkel, Division Street: America 
  1. Working: What is it like to run D.C.’s only Japanese Supermarket?

  2. Prince, “Controversy”

  3. Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

  4. Robert Caro, Working

  5. Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

  6. Chicago’s Shoe Center