Backwardist is my ongoing research project into backwards movement. It has looked at retrograde movement (‘rewinding’ forward movement), reverse movement (travelling in a backwards direction), reverse chronology (stories told backwards like the film Irréversible, as well as questions in physics and philosophy about the direction of time).

In 2011 I spent 10 weeks looking at reverse movement. The movement didn’t have to be complicated, but rather a series of solutions to the question of how a body – designed primarily to move forwards – can move backwards.

The research looked at mechanical details like balance and falling (when we travel ‘normally’ we are constantly falling forwards) and the role of different body parts in movement, at how it feels personally to move backwards, and also at what it evokes in a spectator to see someone moving in these ways.

“Moving backwards has literally offered a new perspective to my body and inspired a number of ongoing questions: When do we travel backwards in our lives? How has the human body evolved to prefer forwards movement? Does a snapshot of forwards look like a snapshot of backwards? What exactly is it about a backwards movement that makes it backwards?”

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