Walk with the step of a slow wanderer
who takes his turtle for a walk.
Inspired by the phrase of Walter Benjamin that speaks of slow, productive time leading to hidden knowledge, the educational program “The Turtle Walk” invites students and teachers to participate in an alternative wandering with the goal of getting to know the artworks in the Sculpture Garden of Minos Beach art hotel in Agios Nikolaos, Lasithi.
The main objective of the programme is to “construct” a condition that will allow participants to establish a personal relationship with an unfamiliar artwork, which they will encounter by following an autonomous path traced in a “mental” labyrinth.
Utilizing methods of “exploratory revelatory learning,” student groups, equipped with a specially designed kit, explore the hotel gardens with the aim of reaching the centre of the labyrinth where they will discover the hidden sculptural installation and then interpret and record it in various ways.
The design of the Cretan labyrinth consists of seven rings of pathways forming a cross, and four dots connected to each other to create eight concentric circles, leaving seven empty rings in between. It is a symbol of the path of human life. The labyrinth of the Minoan myth has no obstacles or dead ends (unlike the Renaissance “maze”). It is a unidirectional path resembling the layout of the brain, where the individual’s consciousness is Ariadne and its myth is knowledge.
Nevertheless, the journey within it is a psychosomatic experience connected to something deeply existential and personal for each individual, similar to the purposeless wanderings of the flâneur who used to take his turtle for a walk in 19th-century Paris, which correspondingly are psychogeographical experiences. (In 1840, it was particularly interesting to take a turtle for a walk in the arcades. The wanderer willingly let them dictate the pace. He was led by his instincts and curiosity, on a quest for urban exploration.)
When a person wanders on foot, this in itself constitutes a potential act of contemplation, as it connects the individual to the present, but primarily to oneself. The myth, what will lead you where you need to go, to the solution – in this case, the discovery of the artwork– becomes the key word that each group stumbles upon by chance (THE TURTLE’S WORD). The KIT (mobile) itself is the “turtle”, symbolizing the journey and, as a symbol, it’s connected to the universe (the dome-like shell represents the sky, while the belly represents the earth). Through the turtle, the thread is unwound for the students to ultimately encounter the sculpture at the centre of the labyrinth.
With Art as the driving force, the goal of the educational game is for students to discover and personally connect with an “unexpected” sculptural work through a gradual, step-by-step discovery of their own selves (desires, fears, prejudices, beliefs, anxieties, senses, etc.), having gone through a brief journey of self-awareness and self-discovery – a metaphor for life’s journey with the ultimate aim of understanding “who they are.”
During the game, students follow the seven paths, each of which calls them to interact with their own selves (body and mind), with others, and the external environment (landmarks), connecting the exterior with the interior, the individual with the collective, the natural with the human.
The program is expected to launch in October 2023! Stay tuned!
In collaboration with