‘A walk in relation to the Romero zombie’

axminster 050

Phil Smith (Plymouth University)

Wednesday 13th April, D3 Richmond Building, University of Bradford, 6pm

In this talk I will approach the movies of what I propose is a coherent post-1968, Romero living dead mythos not as a student of film studies, but from the perspective of ‘radical walking’ and performance. I will draw on ideas from situationist theory, occult and literary psychogeography, phenomenology and from the experiences of my own mythogeographical walking. I will describe how I have taken a taxonomy of space and place from various iterations of ‘zombieland’. I will look at how a walker can draw from the various portrayals of body in these movies: the body of the survivor, the body of the living dead, the sexual and metaphysical dynamics between dead and living, and the ‘thing’ in both. Manoeuvring around warnings against a homological criticism, I will look at how narrative changes and survivals in the mythos since 1968 – hyper-exploitation, origins and back story, returning consciousness, the us/them metaphor – reflect global social realities; given the way that new articulations are entangled across the whole field, providing a mesh for a provisional totality. Finally, I will describe some of the ambulatory tactics I have devised as a result of this study and what walking cinematically can achieve for mythogeography.”

Phil Smith (Crab Man, Mytho) is a performance-maker, writer and ambulatory researcher. He specialises in creating performances related to walking, site-specificity, mythogeographies and counter-tourism. He is a core member of site-based arts collective Wrights & Sites, presently working on their next publication: ‘Architect Walkers’. Phil’s publications include ‘A Footbook of Zombie Walking’ and ‘Walking’s New Movement’ (2015), ‘On Walking’, ‘Enchanted Things’, and the novel ‘Alice’s Dérives in Devonshire’ (all 2014), ‘Counter-Tourism: The Handbook’ (2012) and ‘Mythogeography’ (2010). He is also the company dramaturg and, with Paul Stebbings, co-founder (in 1980) of TNT (Munich), the world’s leading company touring English language theatre to non-anglophone countries. He is an Associate Professor (Reader) at Plymouth University.


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