Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk)
1968, B&W, 60 min.

Conceived and Directed by Bruce Nauman

A piece of video art from American conceptual artist Bruce Nauman. It is summarized here by Steven Connor, in an excerpt from the program notes of Samuel Beckett/Bruce Nauman (Vienna: Kunsthalle Wien, 2000):

Nauman pays homage both to Watt's way of walking and to the similarly awkward, unbalanced gait of Molloy in his Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk) of 1968. In this piece, Nauman videotaped himself walking slowly and with awkward precision around a track marked out on the studio floor. As he walks, arms behind him, he lifts his leading leg high before him and, as it lands, lifts his following leg high in the air behind. The unbalancing of the walk is doubled by the fact that Nauman taped the movements with the camera on its side, so that he appears to be walking up a wall, gravityless.

Another summary may be found at the Electronic Arts Intermix site:

A fixed camera turned on its side records Nauman repeating for nearly an hour a laborious sequence of body movements inspired by passages in works by Samuel Beckett that describe similarly repetitive and meaningless activities. Hands clasped behind his back, he kicks one leg up at a right angle to his body, pivots forty-five degrees, falls forward hard with a thumping noise, extends the rear leg again at a right angle behind, and begins the sequence again. As in many of his fixed-camera film and video works, parts of Nauman's body disappear from the frame as he moves close to the camera; occasionally, he walks off-screen completely while the sound of his footsteps continues on the sound tracks.

Although I frequently enjoy Nauman's bizarre and sometimes nasty pieces, I have yet to see Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk). The piece is discussed at length by Steven Connor in his essay, "Shifting Ground."

Ordering Information

Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk)
Electronic Arts Intermix, 1968

Additional Information

Samuel Beckett/Bruce Nauman -- The Kunsthalle Web page detailing the 2000 show.

ArtForum Review -- ArtForum, Summer 2000. Daniel Birmbaum's positive review of the Samuel Beckett/Bruce Nauman show.

Shifting Ground -- Steven Connor's excellent essay on Beckett and Nauman.

--Allen B. Ruch
3 June 2003

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