A to B in MK (2018) is an artists' book that documents 12 journeys on the Milton Keynes Redways that happened on the shared pedestrian and cycling network in Milton Keynes between 17th – 29th July, 2018. A to B in MK took the form of a number of collective walks and cycle rides; emotionally plotting segments of this network of paths, cycle lanes, trees, bushes and bridges.
During the last two weeks of July I accompanied residents and visitors on their daily journeys to and from work and joined organised walks and bike rides; each trip was written as a story and published as a Redway guide. It is hoped that A to B in MK will contribute to discussion about the potential for the Redways to become a sustainable alternative to the road grid in Milton Keynes, one that brings the margins into the centre and connects residents, plants, places, insects and animals.
The publication included a job application, written by the Redways to Milton Keynes Council and Highways for a role in the future of Milton Keynes.
Related works: A to B in MK is the sister project to MKVH (Milton Keynes Vertical Horizontal), a work from 2006, in which a bus was driven around the road grid of Milton Keynes until it ran out of diesel. A to B in MK was launched on the 15th September 2018 at the Festival of Curves, Slopes and Detours.
The Festival of Curves, Slopes and Detours (2018) was a special performative tour of the Milton Keynes pedestrian and cycling system - the Redways. The Redways are a network of 270km of mixed-use paths that run in parallel to the road grid and through the grid squares of MK. Their name comes from the russet red tarmac they are covered with, but the Redways are also green, corridors of connection that bring people, plants, fungi and animals together. This performance tour united cyclists, walkers, runners and parents with prams to experience the Redways together. On this alternative tour, fellow travellers learnt how to read the Redways, experience the ups and downs of winding around roads and took part in a series of choreographed events.
Is this a re-imagining or a re-possession? A frame of curves sewn into the shadow of a grid. A red route pulls me in another direction and air smells green. Holding handlebars, I feel their grip. Disorientation is key. How many different languages are spoken here? What will these routes look like in 50 years time?
Hayley Newman is an artist with a passion for humour, subjectivity, documentary practices and fiction. She creates performances, interventions, music and texts and has made work in nightclubs, shops, on trains and marches as well as for the concert hall or gallery. Growing up in Bedfordshire, on the Buckinghamshire border, she spent many Saturdays in her teens hanging-out in Milton Keynes Shopping Centre and the Pyramid cinema.
Much of her work is made in response to site, including her 2004 work MKVH (Milton Keynes Vertical Horizontal), commissioned by Milton Keynes Gallery. The work involved driving a coach of volunteers around the Milton Keynes road grid until their coach ran out of diesel. The social sculpture lasted for 39 hours and was her first work about oil and our dependency on fossil fuels. Since completing MKVH it has been her dream to make a work on the Milton Keynes Redway.
In 2009 she collaborated with the eco-electro girl-band The Gluts who took their musical Café Carbon to the Copenhagen Climate Summit. In 2011 she declared herself self-appointed artist-in-residence in the City of London and wrote the novella Common, drawing together the social, economic and ecological crises. She is currently an Art360 award holder. Art360 is an independent charity set up to empower artists and estates to manage, protect and make accessible their lifetime’s work.
Newman lives and works in London and is Reader of Fine Art and tutor on the doctoral programme at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
A to B in MK formed part of Pedalling Culture, a Cultural Destinations Fund programme funded by Arts Council England. Hayley and Tracing the Pathway would like to also thank Fraser Muggeridge Studio, Walk for Health, Redway Runners, Lets Ride, Civic Walk for Health, Broughton Cycle Group, Tadj, Nicky, Jenna, Trevor, Sue, Tom, Jane, Nattu, Shankar, David, Kay, Liz, Shirley, Susanne, Tina, Joan, Colin and Matthew.