Quite a bit, actually. As my essay (08.2022) observes, had Running Artfully Network artist Dr Véronique Chance performed her Thames Run in Summer 2022 instead of Summer 2021, she would’ve only needed to run 232km instead of 240km, as the River Thames has since dried up 8km. Well done humans.
Above: Screenshots of my text. Citation: Tan, Kai Syng. 2022. ‘Not Letting the (Dis)Course Dry up and Run Its Course: On the Persistence, Precariousness and Creative Possibilities of Running Artfully in a Perma-Crisis’. In Thames Run: Source to Sea. Véronique Chance.
After all, running has been a survival process for more than 2 million years, since the Homo erectus ran after animals for food. As a pretty primitive human-powered activity requiring sweat, panting (and pants), yes possible with shiny lycra and Fitbit, but ultimately can be run completely sans technological intervention — even shoes are optional (Tan 2013) — running can be a powerful process to learn about the need to be respectful of environment including the precarity of the natural world, and can thus teach us a lesson or two, about not mis-using nature. The essence of this human-nature tension, and running as a poetic human-fuelled expression of collectivity, is captured in Véronique’s ultra-running performances. as well as artist Jun Nguyen Hastushiba’s ongoing run to complete the same mileage as the diameter of the earth (since 2011), artist James Steventon’s proposal to run, in full footman getup, from Kettering to Aberdeen instead of flying, to a co-created global 7200km running relay from Scotland to Egypt appropriately-named Running Out of Time to coincide with COP 27, and a young athlete’s refusal to compete in a championship taking place in Australia. Read my commissioned article above (screenshots of PDF reproduced here with kind permission of Véronique), Not letting the (dis)course dry up and run its course: On the persistence, precariousness and creative possibilities of running artfully in a perma-crisis, for Véronique’s concertina art book-catalogue (ISBN: 9781912319046) as part of her solo exhibition Thames Run: Source to Sea, at Oxo Tower London, then UK wide. While we are here, we can also find out what running has to do with the (anti)migrant crisis, in my op-ed published on the Royal Society of Arts (2016) to introduce the second RUN! RUN! RUN! Biennale.
Gallery: Screenshots of related materials. Header photo: Photo taken in Keflavík, a former US military base until recently, in the Reykjanes region in southwest Iceland (Tan 2022).