Walking through materials

Walking through Materials

Friday 17th March, 2023
British School at Rome
Workshop for visiting doctoral students, Midlands4cities, UK. 
Discovering the materiality of Rome. Starting at the British School after a short briefing in the seminar room, we will meander through the Borghese Gardens into the city center taking time to notice and experience the materials we encounter. We will explore our material surroundings through the pace of our feet and the connections between us as we walk in silence.
  • Walk in silence.
  • Try not to be self-conscious.
  • Walk at a medium pace -Take your time. 
  • Paying attention to sight, smell, touch, temperature of the materials we walk pass/through.
  • Don’t be tempted to talk – you will notice more!
  • Be aware of your own body in relation to your surroundings. E.g how things feel under foot, touch with your hands things you walk pass.
  • Try to engage first with the materials you encounter before what the material is shaped/grown/formed into. E.g. See stone, before paving, plastic before road barrier, wood before trees.
  • We will stop at certain points for 5 mins to fully engage with key moment on the walk, and to investigate close up the materials around us.
  • At these specific points pay very close attention to the materials around you – focus in on one area/material/object…
  • Feel free to move around the space where we stop.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Smell, listen and breathe deeply.
  • Explore your emotions.
  • Be sure to take in your material surroundings between the locations where we stop.
  • Record your experience if you wish – images, audio, notes, drawings…

    Arbaz Muzaffer


    On my way to silence, I speak

    To the path, the birds, the still & gushing water

    There is a noise, a deafening one

    In everything I see, I touch, I feel

    As I walk down the hill,

    The horses trample along my path,

    I see a view with which I converse

    I remain quiet yet I keep screaming

    They walk besides me

    Yet my friends are strangers now

    Lost in tranquillity

    That surrounds us all

    While their presence feels unusual

    I feel their voice as I think of them

    A cool breeze then sweeps me over

    This ancient city screams

    Of its existence, its perpetuity

    In everything that walks it

    In everything that touches it

    This feeling is mutual

    Continuing my silence

    I smell food, I smell flowers

    I am enchanted by the aura

    Everything looks so distinct

    Yet feels so connected

    The path I walk; The road I took

    The sound of small coffee sips

    The sound of kids and the pigeons

    Looking carefree yet so engaged

    I want to speak, & keep speaking

    I can though speak no more!