In English, the expression “to go the extra mile” means to go above and beyond the call of duty, to make an extra effort to ensure that something succeeds. The expression comes from the Sermon on the Mount in the bible, where Jesus says to his followers: “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” In biblical times, Roman law stipulated that soldiers were allowed to force civilians into carrying their (very heavy) equipment for one Roman mile (81.473 metres). This practice was called “impressment” and was originally practiced in Persia before being adopted by the Romans. The expression is also closely related to the concept of “don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” to develop and cultivate empathy and understanding. Empathy is the ability to literally experience the world from another person’s perspective; to walk in their shoes, to view life from their living conditions and to feel what it feels like to be that person.
Jesus’s message was one of peace and reconciliation in the service of the fellow man, regardless of whether the relationship was one of friend or foe. The project taps into processes such as the Peace and Reconciliation process in South Africa in the wake of the ending of Apartheid and similar processes designed to promote transition from societies with internal conflicts and injustices to stable democracies. These processes are attempts to resolve conflicts left over from the past and break the cycle of former enmities in societies, undertaking a process of transitional justice which strives to address human rights abuses, establish reparations, create memorials and settle past accounts without derailing the establishment of a stable and democratic society, allowing former enemies to live in peace together.
The project is a collaborative process. Members of the public are invited to create their own design on the soles of a pair of used military boots. Linoleum, glue and tools to cut and carve will be provided so that participants can customise their own pair of boots. This took place on board the cultural ferry OM:FORM in the afternoon of 21 June during the Aalborg Regatta and at the Museum Center Hanstholm at 16 on 24 June. These customised boots were then moved to the beaches of the BunkerLove festivals in Hirtshals, 6 July and Furreby, 13 July and participants there were invited to put on a pair of boots and walk two Roman miles (which is roughly one mile by today’s definition of a mile – 1.63 km). The soles of the boots will “impress” the message of the creators of the boots in the sand of the beach, creating a mile of land art messages of peace and reconciliation created by strangers. The artwork is a part of our ongoing “Peace Army” project.” The boots are also part of BunkerLove’s exhibition at Kulturmødet Mors, taking place in Nykøbing Mors, August 21-23, and supported by the Land Art project Landshape.
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