Performance, Landscape, and Shamanism in Werner Herzog’s 'Of Walking in Ice'


  • Giselle Bader The University of Sydney



Werner Herzog, Lotte Eisner, shamanism, pilgrimage, Erving Goffman


This article examines Werner Herzog's 1978 diary Of Walking in Ice (Vom Gehen im Eis) as fundamental in establishing his eccentric public persona as an artist. His decision to walk from Munich to Paris in an effort to save Lotte Eisner's life is read as a shamanic performance. Herzog records this performance as an incantation played out across the magical backdrop of the Germanic forest, its periphery, and towns along the way. His performance speaks to the connection between himself and Eisner, of the importance of continuity in art, and of the artist's role as an outsider. Ultimately, the publication of Herzog's performance allows for a permanent shift in his public persona.


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Author Biography

Giselle Bader, The University of Sydney

Giselle Bader is a PhD Candidate in Studies of Religion at the University of Sydney. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours Class I) from the same department and a Master of Science by Research in the History of Christianity from the University of Edinburgh. Her doctoral research traces the experience of pilgrim landscapes from their Late Antique origins to the present day.


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How to Cite

Bader, G. (2018). Performance, Landscape, and Shamanism in Werner Herzog’s ’Of Walking in Ice’. Fieldwork in Religion, 13(1), 8–21.