3 min read

Minneapolis Chess

In the article, I share photos from a walk I made with artist Alex Wolfe in Minneapolis on May 18, 2023. For months, we plotted a route, only to mostly abandon it in favor of something more improvised. In the postscript, I riff on some ideas collaborative walks and propose a 'Chess Walk Protocol."
Minneapolis Chess


This marks the fourth collaborative walk I've undertaken with Alex in recent years. Setting this one apart was the fact that our meeting took place in Minneapolis—a city neither of us called home. The months leading up to the walk were filled with emails as we crafted a map sketch of the walk, which we ended up significantly deviating from on the day of the walk, leading us to realize this might only be one puzzle piece in the project.

Collaborating with an artist equally invested in exploring the urban landscape and infrastructure creates a natural rhythm to the walk and conversation. We might connect on a few shared concepts and inspirations, but primarily, it's the act of the saunter itself that stands as the nucleus of our collaboration, rather than any creative output, which has mostly been in the form of photographs.

Over the weeks as I reflected on this walk, I grew increasingly fascinated with ideas around future collaborative walks. It's a rather simple formula. Most of the work is in logistics and planning. The point is to simplify in order to allow the narrative to emerge through collaboration.

Another way to look at it would be to view it as a nice excuse to take a short vacation to visit a friend or check out a new city, although with flight prices these days, and concerns around the environmental impact of flying, this perhaps might be an excessive use of energy for novel urbanism experiences. In theory though, it would be an interesting format for a project of some form, especially collaborative in nature.

I've found novelty walks have a unique way of imprinting memories, especially when they are planned, meditated upon and well documented. It's a lesson I've gleaned from my walks with Alex; they stand out as some of the most vivid walks I've undertaken.

Over the last few years, Alex has made several meticulously planned multi-day walks, including the length of Long Island in search of 'big duck energy' which was turned into a short documentary film I'm eager to check out.

His newsletter is always thoughtful and filled with interesting ideas and stories from his walks, definitely a must read.

Collaborative walks are ripe creative territory, but there is one significant caveat: few experiences rival the introspective depth offered by a long, solo walk, a time to truly focus on one's work and ideas.

I’m an artist and marketing strategist based in Minneapolis. This is my newsletter on art, walking, urbanism and mindfulness.

Each issue, I share new work from my projects and try to make connections between ideas, articles and people that fascinate me. You can email me at info@bryanformhals.com or follow me on Instagram or Threads.