desire path, game trail, social trail, fishermen trail, herd path, cow path, elephan path, goat track, pig trail, use trail, bootleg trail
“Like photography negatives, urban design comprises information on what is not visible and only can be inferred by its contours. In this manner, urban geography becomes a catalogue of defeats and absences that can be interpreted from what once existed.
Based on Mexico City maps from 1867 and 1892, superposed on a 2014 Google map of the Juarez and Cuauhtémoc neighbourhoods, this project seeks to create an appropriation of histories through an artistic and scholar exploration of a specific street that ceased to exist more than a century ago.
Following the techniques of the Situationist’s dérive and Andrei Monastyrsky’s work with the Collective Actions Group, Ghost Walker: An Impossible Walk Through Mexico City’s History is a longitudinal study of a specific urban space, witness of a myriad of processes and modifications throughout 150 years
Participants: Sandra Calvo, Ramiro Chaves, Erick Meyenberg, Raul Ortega Ayala, Sergio Miranda Pacheco, Manuel Rocha Iturbide, Modelab.
Modelab is an artistic initiative aiming to promote interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of public space, history, and cartography.
Formed in 2014 by Claudia Arozqueta and Rodrigo Azaola, Modelab projects have taken place in streets, parks, billboards, beaches, museums, vacant retail stores, and other spaces in Australia, New Zealand, France, Mexico, Taiwan, and the Philippines.” (credit)
“The China Town Foray, Intervention and photographs, 2008 – 2010
I invited the Mycological Association of Toronto (an amateur mushroom hunting club) to go on a mycological foray in “Chinatown” or, the Chinese supermarkets and medicinal shops in Markham, Toronto. With field guides and magnifying glasses, we debated Latin species names and toured the suburban marketplace in the same manner that we would research and identify Ontario fungi in the forest or field.
Special thanks for the work and expertise of Alan Gan, and the participating members of the Mycological Society of Toronto.
The event took place in various locations in Markham, Toronto, in the summer of 2008. In 2010, the urban forage was repeated in New York City, with the collaboration of the New York Mycological Society. Special thanks to guest mycologists Paul Sadowski and Gary Lincoff.
AGYU, Terrestrial / Celestial and Walking Studio, curated by Emelie Chhangur , Spring 2012, Toronto
Articule Gallery, Terrestrial/Celestial, Presented as part of Mois de la Photo, curated by Anne-Marie Ninacs, Fall 2011, Montreal, Canada
Umami Festival Performance, The New York Foray, Urban foraging events with the New York Mycological Society. Curated by Yael Raviv, Spring 2010, New York City
“For a period of 30 days, I took a walk every day, navigating the city using Grindr, a geo-location gay mobile app that tells the users the vicinity of gay men around them. Each day I picked a man I desired, and tried to get as close as possible to him using the app. I kept a record of my routes and traced them into paths.” (credit)
“The qualities of our journeys are as subtle as the strokes of a pencil.
Our travels are textured as we squiggle on foot, dither at junctions, speed along motorways, and fly through air corridors.
For fifteen years I’ve record all my journeys with GPS to map where I have been and how I got there. It is a form of personal cartography that documents my life as visual journal.
Our journeys are shaped by the rules of the landscape. We route along engineered solutions as defined by paths and boundaries that tweak and tamper with our travels. At a time when it’s getting harder to experience the feeling of being lost perhaps we should try and stray away from recommended routes.” (credit)
“Jeremy Wood is an artist and mapmaker whose work is an expression of the poetry and politics of space. For over a decade he has been exploring GPS satellite technology as a tool for digital mark making on water, over land, and in the air.
Wood started GPS drawing to investigate the expressive qualities of digitally tracing his daily movements. His work binds the arts and sciences by using languages of drawing and technology to present a personal cartography. By revealing ones tracks the technology can introduce new approaches to travel, navigation and local awareness. GPS drawing engages a range of creative applications and challenges perceptions of scale by travelling as a geodetic pencil.
Wood specialises in public artworks and commissions with an original approach to the reading and writing of places. His work is exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collection of the London Transport Museum, the V&A, and the University of the Arts in London.” (credit)
“Anastasi folded these sheets into eight squares, making them small enough to fit into his pocket. As he walked, he held a tiny, soft pencil against the exposed paper inside the cramped space of his pocket; the resulting marks graph his movements. When he deemed a section complete, Anastasi refolded the sheet, creating a new blank surface, and the process began again. “I love walking,” the artist has explained. “I find that walking does something to my thinking, to my mental process, that is different from sitting or lying down.” These “pocket drawings” are part of a broader practice that Anastasi has described as “unsighted,” including works made while walking (holding a pad, he looks at his destination as he draws) and riding the subway (the train’s stops and starts, bumps and turns, direct the line’s size, weight, and orientation). — Gallery label from A Trip from Here to There, March 15–July 30, 2013.
“Deep beneath the surface of the city, a tangled ribbon of corridors runs throughout 40 blocks of downtown Chicago. This meandering passage appears to have grown up organically as if it were an animal’s burrow or a donkey’s path. Its route is illogical: the corridors exist outside of known space, and its hidden entrances lead to mysterious destinations. What is this place? It is the Chicago Pedway, an intricate non-system of pedestrian tunnels built to separate the citizens of the city from the dangers and foul weather encountered on the street.
On the Trail of a Disorderly Future was an interdisciplinary project consisting of a walking tour of Chicago’s Pedway, ephemera given and sold to tour participants as souvenirs, and a book for a “self-guided” tour of the Chicago Pedway. The project told a story across 36 points-of-interest, weaving together mythic and historical tales to tell the story of urban development, utopian impulses, and fears of the city from the Renaissance until now.
Details: Active from 2009-2013 | performance (90-minute walking tour), ephemera (postcards, map, website), book” (credit)
“Catherine D’Ignazio ran the entire evacuation route system in Boston and attempted to measure the distance in human breath. The project also involves a podcast and a sculptural installation of the archive of tens of thousands of breaths .
The project is an attempt to measure our post-9/11 collective fear in the individual breaths that it takes to traverse these new geographies of insecurity.
The $827,500 Boston emergency evacuation system was installed in 2006 to demonstrate the city’s preparedness for evacuating people in snowstorms, hurricanes, infrastructure failures, fires and/or terrorist attacks.
It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston consists of:
- a series of running performances in public space (2007)
- a web podcast of breaths (2007)
- a sculptural installation of the archive of breaths (2008)
Website & Podcast
Medium: custom-made table, 26 jars, 26 speaker components, wire, 13 CD players
I created a sculptural & audio archive of the collection of breaths. There are 26 jars on a custom-made table which correspond to the 26 runs it took to cover the evacuation routes. Each jar size corresponds to the number of breaths from that run. The speaker inside the jar plays the breaths collected from that run. (Better documentation coming soon)
This piece is on view in Experimental Geography, a traveling show curated by Nato Thompson and produced by ICI.
By making life more interesting for others, we may indirectly help to alleviate the human condition. We up your aesthetic quality of life, we up your creativity. We celebrate the ordinary.
—N.E. Thing Company
“To change life-style,” “to change society,” these phrases mean nothing if there is no production of an appropriated space.
Throughout their collaboration (1966–1978), Iain and Ingrid Baxter utilized the N.E. Thing Company—their incorporated business and artistic moniker—as a vehicle through which to investigate artistic, domestic and corporate systems in relation to their everyday life. Like typical West Coast and Canadian artists, the Baxters made landscapes, though theirs were expanded to include the sites of work and leisure, and urban and suburban spaces. They were uninterested in painting pictures of Canadian wilderness as a hostile, unexplored territory full of myth, mystery or awe-striking grandeur—all that is other to the obvious and banal spaces of the everyday. Instead the Company’s landscapes investigated how information technologies, corporate relations and institutions such as the art world and the nuclear family interact to redefine “landscape” as a product of human interest, an element of subjectivity and charted its relationship to forms of identity and national positioning. NETCO’s reversals, reflections, inflatables, mappings, punnings, and measurements, disrupted unidimensional, unidirectional hegemonic annexations of space. The Company actively appropriated and transformed these spaces to allow for creative possibilities and critical potential. At the same time as the Baxters’ landscapes attempt to map out a coherent picture of fragmented realms, in a move that is characteristic of the contradictions explored in their work, these landscapes stake out a social topography in the emerging, geo-politically peripheral city of Vancouver in the late sixties.
Although the Baxters were contemporaries of the Situationists (who were among the first to incorporate Henri Lefebvre’s analysis of everyday life into their practice), it is necessary to distinguish NETCO from its French counterparts. Lefebvre and the Situationists saw everyday life as a site of revolutionary potential to be liberated through aggressive reversals and combative tactics of negation—a space from which to undermine the corporate state through dialectical analysis of and critical intervention in consumer society that revealed the stakes capital has in maintaining a separation between the realms of work and leisure, the political and the everyday. Although the Baxters attempted to integrate the spheres of work and leisure, they aimed to open potential spaces of creativity within existing economic and political constraints by breaking down habitually assumed modes of perception in order to up the quality of life—a life that took account of family, business, and art activities. The Baxters proposed an agency that was expansive, inclusive and celebratory in place of the Situationist’s disruptive and radically motivated interventions. They playfully questioned their roles as entrepreneurs, artists, educators, parents and spouses, collapsing and infecting systemic boundaries in order to reinvestigate the elusive and taken-for-granted. …
As urban and corporate explorers, the Baxters set out on many sightseeing expeditions. In Circular Walk Inside the Arctic Circle Around Inuvik, NWT (1969) the Company presidents wore pedometers to scientifically mark the seven km or 10,314 steps travelled around the circumference of Inuvik. … The Arctic work, as well as other landscape pieces, were accompanied by standard road and geographical maps that the Baxters marked with instructions and drawings. In doing so they transformed official maps from representations of regulated and unidimensional space into dynamic and contingent space. By inflecting mapmaking practice with their actual experience of and activities in Inuvik, the Baxters transformed abstract and instrumentalizing concepts into the realm of the everyday, disrupting the objectivity of the rationalized grid that presupposes a homogeneous subject, and a static space that ignores time and history.” [credit]
“Influenced by business studies and the theories of Marshall McLuhan, N.E. Thing Co. Ltd., and its treatment of art as “Sensitivity Information, ” has left a lasting impression on Conceptualism in Canada and abroad. Founded by Iain and Ingrid Baxter in 1966 and dissolved in 1978, N.E. Thing Co. began in a blur of short-lived corporate monikers. …
… the Baxters first used the alias N.E. Thing Co. in 1967. Following the company’s formal incorporation in 1969, they named themselves co-presidents in 1970. In this way, it was equally through the form of their practice—as co-presidents of a corporate structure—that made NETCO an instructive example in collaborative artmaking. However, as Marie Fleming suggested in her survey of the Baxters’ early work in 1982, it is difficult “to assess clearly the nature and development of the collaboration and to distinguish the individual contributions of Iain and Ingrid Baxter to work produced under the various rubrics. The issue has become sensitive since their separation in 1978.”2
By making use of technologies previously reserved for businesses – such as the telex and telecopier—the Baxters capitalized on their relatively peripheral situation.”
2N.E. Thing Co. (Vancouver: self-published, 1978), not paged.