Thoughts & Progress





Shikoku, 88 temple pilgrimage, Japan


四国遍路 Shikoku Henro 
August - October 2019

Three years after the last pilgrimage to Muxía (Camino de Santiago, Spain), I am about to put my body under awareness. During the last year, I’ve been going through personal changes and I’m coming again to the fountain of energy that is being a wanderer.

Thoreau, Nietzsche and Kant are considered walking philosophers. I’m not a philosopher but I use walking as a clarifier tool, and, I reflect on the notion of how I relate to the world, where is my presence. Maybe some of us, the ones that find difficulty on settling down, are still thinking nomads, and need to put body and mind on its natural moving state to clear the vision of ourselves.


One more time, despite being agnostic, I’m chosing a religious route for a long distance walk. Reason why, is because I believe on the transition of the body through different stages; religious routes base their difficulties on the preparation of the body for the state of clarity.

The pilgrim's journey through Shikoku is linkened to a symbolic path to enlightenment, with temples 1–23 representing the idea of awakening(発心 hosshin), 24–39 austerity and discipline (修行 shugyō), 40–65 attaining enlightenment (菩提 bodai), and 66–88 entering nirvana (涅槃 nehan).


Following the structure of the travel journal written by Isabella L. Bird (“Unbeaten Tracks in Japan”, 1878, series of letters to her sister and a circle of personal friends), I will be writing letters to the island of Shikoku while I walk through it. It would be an essay about presence and the relation of the island and me and the relation between my body and the current environment in which it is placed. Visually, I will be using my body as an instrument of performative mapping. 


 



“We feel ourselves part of wild Nature, kin to everything.


John Muir
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saraalonso@saraalonsovisualart.com