The Great Walk: Conversations

It was one of those party’s that started in the middle of the afternoon. One of those parties where those attending are old enough to know how to pace themselves to make it through to breakfast the following morning.

We were in costume; a future imagined by imaginary Victorians – steam powered, tea driven, opium crazed adventurers, delighting in the whimsicality of the post colonialism of it all. Or at least I was.

At about six in the evening that an attractive aviator handed me this…

Map Tube

“Read the label.” She said.


…it said.

She smiled as I un-scrolled the contents of the tube.


“That is Fantastic!” Was my response.

Those who have seen the film will get the joke.

She then ordered two more copies of the film, we talked for a while longer and then parted.

Suffice to say it was an interesting trip home.


Two days later I received a text from her.

It said: ‘Retraced Anton Vagus walk in Exeter up Prospect Steps.’

This is a level of engagement with the film I had not expected but absolutely delight in.


My current definition of art is this:

That it speaks of a soul, or it speaks to your soul.

I am beginning to think that this might be because, in what each of us calls art, we recognise a soul; a complete experience, one that might be changed or altered by it’s context but retains something that withstands relocation; it can stand by itself.

The Great Walk appears to be just that for some people. There are people who appear to be in conversation with it, beyond any relationship they have to those of us who made it.

I like that.

In fact I think it’s rather great.

So thank you all for playing.


Mr X




all material © 2014

From The Great Walk: The Seven Dimensions of Walking

In ‘The Great Walk’ there is a notion that there are 7 dimensions – plains of conceptual and material reality through which one might filter their perception of the world. The following extract of text was included in the general section of all scripted participants (which was everyone but Phil). It detailed one of the most significant events in the history of the elite walking group and details the essential set of principles that they were to adopt in the years that followed.


A Transcription of a Declaration by Anton Vagus on the Subject of the 7 Dimensions of the Walking State.

Transcribed by Lachlan Graves. Published Oxford 2002.

“I’ve been doing some thinking about walking, and I think that there are dimensions of walking; like we are walking dimensions; dimensions of walking…

Let me explain.

The first dimension is to imagine a journey. Also it is to journey in the mind, and also to journey with the mind.

The second dimension of walking is linear. It is what happens when one walks from A to B. Simply that. A to B. You feel thirst, you stand up, you walk to the place where you can satisfy your thirst. Do you see, A to B.  Two dimensions. The physical path may go round corners but in your mind you are following a single path. Do you understand?  Most people walking in two dimensions do not notice up and down, simply because they are focused on the need of their walking, not the act of walking. They do not see much of what is around them, they are too focused on the destination.

In the third dimension there is a widening of space, a widening of our conception of space, and also of our abilities to engage with space. It is to add the ‘up’ and the ‘down’ of the world. It is most clear as physical exploration, when we open ourselves to paths that are no longer restrained by need. A and B are just one axis. if A is where we are there are now an almost infinite number of B’s: an infinite number of destinations. Not only this there is now an almost infinite number of B’s there is the quality of C to add as well, which we might call elevation; up and down, through and under, and over. It is about  creating choice. It is also the state of over coming obstacles.

In the forth dimension we engage with time, with the context of the passage of time. To walk in this state is to comprehend the perspective of time. Think history, geology, archeology, all these things, ways of seeing, of thinking about time and it’s effects on the world. Remember you are a part of that, but remember that also you can look at it like you are only an observer of it.  If you place your focus there it is what happens when we think of effects, what were the causes of the things that we find around us, what will they cause in turn, what might we cause by being there in that moment, do you see, it is not just one thing. To walk in the forth dimension is to walk among the names of things.

Which leads me to the fifth dimension of walking. There is no me without you, no you without me. And we only exist against the backdrop of everything else, all those names, all those feelings. A universal unfolding in an individual incarnation. All the knowing and the being we perceive meets inside of us. The path of the fifth dimension of leads to the realm of the psyche. When we walk this path we become aware of how we intersect with the world, what do the names mean to us, why does the world make us feel the way we do, why do we notice some bits of it and not others, what happens when we force unexpected experiences upon ourselves, what then?   There are so many people trapped in the fifth dimension because it can seem like an end in itself. Some get fixated by their own reflections and miss the actual experience: they get stuck, lost in language and symbols. In the fifth we see the world as we are. To realise this moves us into the sixth because what we fear and desire are not things of the world but are things of ourselves, born from the currents of the mythological, the collective psyche, the collective unconscious, you know, the places inside us where the significance of the symbols overlap. To walk there is to walk in the Sixth Dimension, next to angels and demons. In this material lies madness. Those who have not prepared themselves, well… much of the world is trapped in collective delusions – so at least you won’t be on your own – but beware, to be stuck he is to be psychotic. Edge with care because when everything becomes significant, when everything becomes symbolic then one can loose control all too easily. Where those stuck in the fifth look inside for the answers and blame the world for what they find, those stuck in the sixth believe that it is the world giving them answers for which they then have to work out the right questions.

The path from here lies between fear and desire. Tread carefully.

To walk in the seventh dimension is to transcend all this talk of dimensions. It is to walk through the world embracing the unknown without thought of what has gone before. We can choose to engage with as many or as few of the other dimensions as we wish. The seventh dimension is liberation. To be free to walk in whatever way one chooses, wherever and whenever one chooses, however one chooses, for whatever reason… without causing harm.

I think that’s it.

Yes. That’s it.


Anyone else fancy a Gelato?”

Anton Vagus.

Venice July 1997.


All Material ©Clive Austin 2014