InspiralLondon – an ambitious artist-led project, working collectively to create a new walk trail spiraling out through London, from Kings Cross, ending and beginning again at Gravesend. The pathway is divided into 36 segments, allowing the public to experience the city as one vast art space in which to re-imagine the built and natural environment. Expanding on the potential of walking as art, we use a variety of artistic practices and artistic interventions to offer an alternative platform that provides accessible and pleasurable ways to delve into under-explored and forgotten parts of the metropole.
The Inspiral Trail is coordinated by InspiralLondon CIC, and is an original idea conceived by counterproductions in 2013. Since October 2016 the Metropolitan Trail has been promoted and managed inclusively by the Community Interest Company.
METROPOLITAN TRAILS MANIFESTO
Published at launch InspiralLondon, Swedenborg House, 22 Sept 2016
1.We believe that we live on the ground.
2.We believe that we are an urban species that belongs to the land.
3.We believe that ways are older than houses and that walking is dwelling.
4.We believe that our metropolitan areas have developed beyond recognition, so that we need now to explore these intimate terra incognita.
5.We believe in fighting mass media’s pernicious distortions of reality by walking.
6.We believe in itinerant hiking through urban ranges and in tourism at home.
7.We believe in lines, GIS and getting back and forth from maps to the field, because the more you study a city the more you dream about it.
8.We believe that metropolitan walking trails design new experiences for everyone.
9.We believe that the suburbs of the metropolises of the world share common features. Multicultural suburbs are a matrix of our future societies.
10.We believe that it is the responsibility of city centres to take note of the immense and beautiful body of their metropolitan areas, in order to put together a common metropolitan culture.
11.We believe in a world community of metropolitan walkers and trail designers, harbingers of an anti-bullshit revolution.
(MT Manifesto – Edited November 2016)
InspiralLondon grows out of Decentrederspace artistic experiments in Marseille (2012-2013) and is inspired by the GR2013 project – a semi-urban footway created by local artist collective, for the European Capital of Culture 2013. From 2015 to end 2017 we have been creating a novel walking experience for London; a metropolitan trail that spirals out from a central point within the heart of London.
The trajectory of the trail has been designed, marked out and traversed by a loose collective of artists, writers, architects, geographers, planners, urban explorers, and walking enthusiasts. There are 36 sections from approximately 8-12 miles in length. The overall length of the walk is around 300 miles crossing the Thames at 10 points, using bridges, foot tunnels, a cable car and ferries. A planned return from Gravesend ferry north back into the centre of London will add further 75+ miles. The walk is both an artistic assembly and a form of democratic action allowing members of the public, walkers and participants to use the trail as a pathway to discover and experiment within the metropolis of London. We use the whole of the City and its hinterland as one vast art space in which to rethink and re-imagine the built environment, as a place of extraordinary variety, contrast and potential, and a tour of places we no longer see or have forgotten. The project has been facilitated and supported by counterproductions. You can view the Inspiral route here.