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Putting your best foot backwards

PUBLISHED: 11:58 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 15 May 2019

Reverse: Walking backwards removes the usual goal orientated expectation as we're immersed in an audio soundscape created for the city.  Picture contributed

Reverse: Walking backwards removes the usual goal orientated expectation as we're immersed in an audio soundscape created for the city. Picture contributed

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A long white line is appearing this week in Norwich city centre and festival artist Johannes Bellinkx wants us to follow it, but it's not that simple…

Johannes Bellinkx has taken his Reverse project to various cities, watch out for the white lines in Norwich. Picture submittedJohannes Bellinkx has taken his Reverse project to various cities, watch out for the white lines in Norwich. Picture submitted

The performance artist is setting up a rather unique tour of Norwich and he wants us all to join in.

He's laying a white line path around the city centre, taking in some of its highlights and distinguished features, but rather than a simple walking tour of the city he wants us to start with one foot either side of the white line and walk backwards for the entire route.

Swapping our mobile phones for the duration of the walk to wear a smart device and headphones, an especially composed audio soundtrack appropriate to each stage of the backwards walk plays as we walk.

Johannes, who is from the Netherlands, has taken his experience Reverse to a number of different cities, and says Norwich was a perfect city to host the walk.

Walking backwards gives a completely different dimension to our view of life, says Reverse artist Johannes Bellinkx     Picture contributedWalking backwards gives a completely different dimension to our view of life, says Reverse artist Johannes Bellinkx Picture contributed

"The route goes through buildings and the different buildings are very nice," he says.

"The scale of the city is very nice for this route as it is not too big but it has a lot of different architecture and it is such a nice place to create this project," he says, adding that the co-operation between the festival and the managers of the various venues and areas involved had made it straightforward to organise the route.

"Everyone knows everyone, it is easier," he says.

The idea is to enable the walkers to experience the city in a different way and to feel a rarely felt alternative to our reality.

"We are programmed to be target-led and to know where we are headed but walking backwards you have no idea of where the route is going. It's very different," he says.

He says it takes about five to ten minutes to get used to walking backwards and there will be assistants on the route to help keep people safely on track.

"Once people really go for it they love it," he says.

Reverse, May 16 to 18 2019, starts from Chapelfield Gardens in Norwich. Tickets £5. Recommended age 13 plus. See www.nnfestival.org.uk for full schedule.

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