In a New York borough, a group of walkers meanders through the city. They stop and look around. They close their eyes. They listen. They are participants on a walk with artists from Elastic City, a conceptual walk organization founded by CCA alumnus Todd Shalom (MFA Writing 2004). Lauded by the New York Times, the Economist, and even illustrated in the New Yorker (that's how you know you've really arrived!), Elastic City has organized walks from Brooklyn to Brazil.
Shalom's title at Elastic City is producer and director. He designs and leads some walks, and also commissions other artists to create walks. The walks focus less on providing factual information and more on heightening the senses, uncovering the poetry of everyday places, and creating new group rituals in dialogue with public space. Each walk is an artwork. Lucky Walk, by Shalom in collaboration with Juan Betancurth, revealed lucky and unlucky traits within New York architecture. It encouraged participants to engage in rituals to eliminate bad luck and bring forth good luck. Homesickness by the urbanist Einat Manoff examined the group's physical surroundings as a mirror into its collective homesickness, testing possible interventions in space and discussing the theoretical perspectives offered by urban theory and environmental psychology. Other 2011 walks included City Island Hop by Andrea Polli, Love Spells by Emily Tepper, and Total Detroit by Niegel Smith. In this last, participants started out walking in LaGuardia Airport in New York and then took a plane to the Motor City, where they continued the 56-hour performance.