Western Drive was a project created, written and directed by Kellen Walker.
The work has taken the forms of performance, perfume series, a performative & participatory workshop, interactive gallery installation, and a non-fiction collection of writing.
Western Drive began as a self-portrait of place illustrated by sound score and intentionally-perfumed dancers in a live performance. The vehicle to disperse aromas was the dancers’ bodies creating choreographed sillage, the French word describing a trail of scent a body leaves behind. The project conceptually distilled a landscape from Kellen Walker’s childhood, creating a monument of the land and its previous steward, her late grandfather. By deeply inhaling tree scents – quoting the road’s surrounding flora – Western Drive‘s collaborators and audience embodied the geography and its ancestors through a poetic sensory experience.
The narrative of Western Drive referenced the road leading to property Kellen’s grandfather bought in 1980 and sold in 2002. The abstracted story described autobiographical, familial, and geological timelines as well as textures of flora and fauna. The landscape, ever-shifting, was once moist and verdant. Now: a bone-dry* reservoir filled with prairie grass. It’s a story told through the lens of loss, longing, drought, and a new realization of mortality.
*During the performance’s debut production in May 2015, the Texan geography this project pointed to experienced extreme rains. The dried up lake filled up completely, totaling nineteen feet of water in the span of two weekends.
CONTACT // kellen [at] kellenwalker.com