‘Walking With’ : A Rhythmanalysis of London’s East End

Yi Chen
Article publié le 23 octobre 2019
Pour citer cet article : Yi Chen , « ‘Walking With’ : A Rhythmanalysis of London’s East End  », Rhuthmos, 23 octobre 2019 [en ligne]. https://rhuthmos.eu/spip.php?article2453

This paper has already been published in Culture Unbound, Volume 5, 2013 : 531–549, hosted by Linköping University Electronic Press. We thank Yi Chen for the permission to republish it here.


Abstract : In this paper, I will be looking at the practice of walking through the lens of rhythmanalysis. The method is brought to attention by Lefebvre’s last book
Rhythmanalysis (2004) in which he suggests a way of interrelating space and
time ; a phenomenological inquiry hinged on the concrete experience of lived life.
My interest in the nuance of walking was initially evoked by the structural film
Fergus Walking which was made by the film maker William Raban in 1978. I will
explore the potential of using structural films in sensitising us to the temporalspatial
relationship of things. The main body of the paper centres around two
themes : Firstly I address the primacy of movement as a mode of engaging with
the world. It is through ‘muscular consciousness’ (Bachelard 1964 : 11) that
walking becomes a form of experiential knowing, feeling, connecting and
protesting. Secondly, I examine the practices of walking in relation to the radical
transformations of the Docklands’ landscape since the beginning of the 1980s. I
propose that the contesting interests of different groups can be explored by
analysing the rhythmic interactions of their activities. The transition and
recomposition of an economy from locally based industrial activities to globalised
financial services were manifested in the syncopation of regeneration rhythms to
the living rhythms of the Docklands. The fast changing urban landscapes were
negotiated through alternative ways of navigating the streets, hence engendering a
different set of rhythms.


Keywords : Walking, roads, rhythmanalysis, structural film, Docklands.

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