Stuart Keeler Walks The Line


Earlier this morning, I received this interesting e-mail. It took me a few minutes to realize why I’d received it:

Walking the Line of the Spring Equinox

March 20, 2011 marks the vernal equinox and the beginning of spring. On March 22, Artist Stuart Keeler will embark on a walking performance from sunrise to sunset as a symbolic celebration of spring. His walk will be focused on the length of Yonge Street, which was established in 1794, and is touted by many to be “the longest street in the world.” The linear stretch of concrete begins in Toronto at Queen Quay East and ends at Barrie, Ontario or as some say at Thunder Bay - a staggering 1,896 kilometers.

Ah. Well, that explains that. As I discovered, the true length of Yonge Street is significantly shorter than the claimed 1896 kilometres. However, it is still long enough to be a serious contender, and walking the portion of it between Toronto and Barrie that proudly displays its name would still be quite an accomplishment. So I’ll do my part and promote Mr. Keeler’s press release.

A true flaneur, Keeler will employ a hand-made daffodil yellow monochromatic walking suit which will serve to identify the action and durational performing of Yonge Street in progress. The goal is to reach the end, however how far will he traverse by foot in one day?

Well, it’s street theatre. It sounds like fun, and it should make him stand out as he walks down the street in, say, Richmond Hill or Aurora.

The word “equinox” derives from Latin to mean “equal night” which refers to the moment when the sun crosses the equator. At this time, day and night are of nearly equal length everywhere in the world. Keeler will meditate on this concept, nomadically creating an embodied way of meditating on the term “equal” while in motion along the linear north / south axis road on the cusp of a new season. Using time, the city streets, and the memories of passerby, Keeler will create an abstracted series of action and performance based drawings, using his body as the meditative implement to trace his linear path.

The walking pieces will comprise a performance lasting one day; beginning at sunrise on March 22, 2011, at Yonge and Bay Streets in Toronto. It is unknown how far the artist will walk. The goal is to reach the end. Keeler views this project as an ongoing collaboration with Yonge Street.

Viewers and passerby are encouraged to participate by joining Keeler for any stretch along the way. All are welcomed!

You can follow Keeler during the walk on Twitter at: Stutzart

If Mr. Keeler wants to save a little time, he could hop on board a taxi where Yonge Street crosses the Holland River at the southeastern end of Bradford, getting off at the north end of town where the Yonge Street name resumes.

Updated to Add:

Can it be done? Well, these two individuals put together a fascinating stop-motion video of their trek from Aurora to Lake Ontario, stopping periodically to snap pictures of themselves as they headed south. They ran out of light as they approached downtown Toronto, but they made it. The distance between Aurora and Lake Ontario is roughly 40 km. The distance between Lake Ontario and Barrie? Around 100 km.

Best of luck, Stuart!

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