Open Call to the Walking Abstractions Workshop

Latest update: 5.9.2023

Walking Abstractions

A walking drawing workshop and exhibition in Lapland

Important Dates


Workshop: 27-28 September 2023

Exhibition: 25 September - 13 October 2023, Galleria Kopio (F-building 1, University of Lapland)

Address: University of Lapland, Yliopistonkatu 8, 96300 Rovaniemi, Finland


Registration Deadline: 10 September 2023

In his analysis of the movement of animals, Aristotle offered a remarkable (thought) experiment: “… if a man were to walk on the ground alongside a wall [with a reed dipped in ink attached to his head], the line traced [by the reed] would not be straight but zigzag, because it goes lower when he bends and higher when he stands upright and raises himself.” (Aristotle, Progression of Animals, 709a 5-9.) This passage has several translations, given some corrupt parts of the original text. But while some suggest that the zigzag or wavy line is created by an instrument attached to the body, others propose a rather imaginary line created by the projection of the walker’s shadow. In any case, Aristotle’s analysis of motion, particularly this passage, is essential because it suggests that the walking body is a producer of forms both in and from itself, i.e., forms that exist only in the presence of the body and forms that endure in its absence either in the mind of the viewer or literally imprinted on a surface.

We warmly welcome participants to a two-day workshop in which we will explore together the extraordinary possibilities that our walking bodies have for the creation of drawings, in a unique process of blind drawing without being blindfolded developed by Rovaniemi-based artist Kalle Lampela. In one of his works, Lampela took one-hour walks in his studio carrying a drawing box with a felt-tip pen hanging over a sheet of paper (16.5 x 16.5 cm) inside a backpack. The variety of resulting images is remarkable, as one can see on this video compilation:

We will continue and build upon this process and drawing technique. Each participant will create a drawing box that fits any regular backpack or carry bag and walk with it in different locations. You can choose to walk wherever you like, either alone, in pairs or groups, and make as many drawings as you can. We encourage participants to walk naturally but also to experiment with different lengths of time, speeds, directions, surfaces, shoes, clothes, even walking styles, and to carry the drawing box in different parts of the body (back, chest, head, shoulders, hips, knees, feet). At the end of the workshop, we will mount our own pop-up exhibition and reflect together on our own experiences and imagery.

This workshop is organised by art historian, philosopher, psychologist, and artistic photographer Carlos Idrobo (Department of Art History, University of Turku), as part of his research project Hermeneutics of Walking, funded by the Kone Foundation, in collaboration with visual artist and associate professor Kalle Lampela (Faculty of Art and Design, University of Lapland). The event will be documented, and the drawings scanned for research and media purposes.


Day 1 (27 September 2023)
10:00 – 12:00 Reception, presentation of the research and workshop, handicraft work
12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 16:00 Coordination and execution of afternoon walks

Day 2 (28 September 2023)
10:00 – 12:00 Morning walks / group walks in the forest areas near the university campus
12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 16:00 Discussion and montage of the exhibition

17:00 – 18:00 Opening of the exhibition

The programme will be held in English but within a multilingual environment. We can also offer instructions in Finnish, Spanish, German, and Japanese.

Participation in person only. No fees required. The necessary materials are included. Participants will pay for their own travel and accommodation costs. We will offer refreshments throughout the workshop at the university restaurant/cafeteria, which offers a wide range of dietary options. Participation is limited to up to 20 participants, but we may be flexible depending on how many people would like to join for one or both days.

The workshop will take place on 27 – 28 September 2023 at the Faculty of Art and Design of the University of Lapland, Yliopistonkatu 8, 96300 Rovaniemi, Finland.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions at carlos.idrobo[at] and/or kalle.lampela[at] More information on Idrobo’s research and artistic work at For more examples of Lampela’s works, visit his Instagram account at @kalle_lampela. Assisting our workshop is Emmi Kairenius (Instagram: @empatja), a MA student in Art Education at University of Lapland, whose ongoing walking project Everyday Topographies combines performative and playful exploration of urban landscapes, by collecting visual information created by out-soles of her shoes.

* Update (5.9.2023):  A closing event on the 12 or 13 October may be possible, depending on the interest of participants. At the end of the exhibition time, participants can collect themselves their own drawings, or we return them per post.

Future updates will be posted on this blog.

Registration Closed!