Monday, May 28, 2012

344 and post-studio archive

strategies for finding your approximate location in real time

Strategies to find your [approximate] location, in real time.

Intro: Greater Metro Freeway Case Study 1. 

77 wasn't there, but 35E was.

Took 35E in a long loop that should have been in St. Paul and White Bear Lake, but pointed toward Duluth... I almost turned around, but kept going—due to this recent realization I've had about the geopraphy around here. Inconsistent. Which seemed to work. Met 494, took that west. 

35W (past Billiards).
Into downtown, 35W=2 lanes forward, 1 lane 94W, 1 lane 394, 1 lane 94W.
Took 94W.
Through the tunnel (which you miss when getting onto 94W from uptown/downtown). 
It seemed like Olson Memorial Highway was where Lyndale has been (went under it on 94W). 
so there are these lanes. 694E-R, 252N-R, 694W and 94W to the left. 
Continued on 94W; turned the compass in my head one direction and willed the steering wheel the other. 
Made it home without a wrong turn in a location that should have been more or less 360 from where I'd come from, give or take an addition of hauntings and loss of company.

In the Taylor and Francis journal Annals of the Association of American Geographers essay “Sovereignty, Territory, and the Mapping of Mobility: A View from the Outside,” Phillip E. Steinburg introduces mobility as being an especially important aspect of contemporary philosophical and cartographic maps--making and interpretation. 

Steinburg delineates the place that the ocean had—as a natural, social, political, and mythological entity—in 16th-20th century European and American maps. He emphasizes the impact that the idea of a sovereign nation had on the psychic and metaphorical designation of “other” or “outside” that the ocean necessarily absorbed. 

The 20th century is contrasted by a new priority of movement—of flows and of spatial experience; Steinburn references Deleuze and Guittarri, among others.  For him, mobility has to do with deterritorialization and renegotiation of exterior and interior spaces. Steinburg relates movement to memory—or rather of forgetting. 

Michel de Certeau on route maps (or rather, maps with step-by-step instructions): 
The trace left behind is substituted for the practice. It exhibits the (voracious) property that the geographical system has of being able to transform action into legibility, but in doing so it causes a way of being in the world to be forgotten. (de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 1991, 97/Steinburg, Sovereignty, Territory...from the section Mapping Movement). 

For five years, clips and half-assed recollections of a few favorite essays provided more than enough fodder to underscore the equally ambiguous arc of dead-end jobs and chaotic love relationships at 344. Though my use of computers was more or less nil it was, nonetheless, impossible not to experience 2005-2010 through a digital lens. 

Delueze and Guittari's performative writing made sense as experienced in real time: in a time and space that brought the dimensions, directions, and demands attributed to time and space into question—and not once, in passing, but with every new moment and every new movement...The generative movement that we couldn't avoid is, I think, related to the movement that Steinburn describes in Sovereign, Territory.... as being a shift that the postmodern era has experienced on a global scale: one that has to do with me at the center of it, with a decreasing regard for anything beyond a modified version of a place, as mediated through the kind of visual-linguistic semiotic narrative structure absorbed from an array of directional and ambiant sources:
PDAs, iphones, & PC apps (Facebook, subscriptions, e-mail—all replete with indidivualized, target marketing); increase in post-secondary ed as the information economy replaces traditional industries—and an adjustment of what it means to be lumped into this overwhelming pool of aspiring success stories; college, public, and commercially-available career and life planning services utilizing person-centered planning models.. Insurance packages tailored to appeal to a wave of holistically-aspiring under-funded workers. 
And then, of course, the integration of the physical environment—the dominant visual culture, and its attenuating but no less manipulated non/corresponding acoustic environment. 


I feel really lucky to have been born on the tail-end of the Gen-X generation. The ease that Gen Y and younger have  with virtual technologies—ability to shift back and forth from virtual to built reality without much hardship—none of the psychological lack of coping abilities or ineptitude with adjusting to new media interfaces, etc... it freaks me out. I guess what should freak me out more is to have gotten caught in the dumb half of Gen X; the greater majority of my generation that is more or less useless. Gen X. I mean it's the genius slackers and the suicidal slackers, right. Is there anyone else—I mean, aside from the minority of oldschool perfectionist types that took over family businesses or adapted to the Gen Y overachiever overeducated status quo.

Slacker mode didn't get in the way of completing at least one Myspace quiz or Livejournal entry per day; I filled out absolutely everything possible—totally absorbed with this self-exploration that was so frequently related to -socially and in class (primarily, in cultural studies & contemporary art and art history seminars). 

Narrative art, body mapping, situationist mapping, personal topographies, and psychogeographical mapping were recurring predominant areas of focus. Initially liberating, the over-use of non-traditional mapping systems seemed to catch up to waves of art school grads with the same sort of totalizing boredom and dismissal that I felt. That's a major exaggeration, but I mean; correct me if I'm wrong, but I just don't really see as many mapping projects in galleries post-graduation. Alternative mapping projects can be found as a staple in any number of curricula. CITE

but are introduced in a way that pretty much kills any real investigative or imaginative work from happening. EVERYWHERE. This is my generalization. I'll qualify it and then bring the cool projects around, and maybe this has something to do with wanting to teach in a way that makes right the things that totally messed me up. You know. Cuz the same units of study could have lent themselves to going in an interesting direction with realistic and well-supported increments of individual more like thesis or grad level projects on a micro scale. Isn't that what should have happened? At least some sort of introduction to more contemporary applications of these like core areas of knowledge. And a fucking decent reading list for the road. Video list, at least. Hot pix for anthropology majors. 

Narrative and alternative mapping projects dumbed down pre-and post-virtually-integrated young people alike. I can't think of a single academic trend that I've suffered from more thoroughly.. and simultaneously, it has come to my attention all too slowly that I lack a fundamental understanding of how to accurately navigate the geographical, physical world without excessive reliance on unstable, ungrounded information systems...Googlemaps, verbal navigational assistance, directions delivered from a computer app or live party--even if returning to a familiar location. 

The San Francisco/Bay Area artist Jenny O'Dell is doing work around Googlemaps that blows any of my biases against map art out of the ever-too-close-too-far ocean salt water. Splash. Though deceptively simple re. Conceptual aim, the projects engage with the kind of detail of visual culture that can only be addressed by utilizing the language of visual culture... 
Of her several intensive series, I love her Everyone in Googlemaps (?) and the video work—Los Vegas Road Trip (or something like that).
O'dell's work is so flawless it's easy to buy into the fantasy of ease—pick out every single person in Google maps. Travel in real time to Los Vegas with fictional narrative that comes with her hand on the wheel—no worries about getting stuck trying to hit the right arrow to move forward, waiting for an image to load, or hitting a wall with inspiration to keep the story moving along. 

Have you ever ridden with someone that has either a GPS thing built into the dash, or mounted on the dash? 

I'd take O'Dell's car-free vacation over that—except that at the end of the day. Not only have you as the viewer gone nowhere. Neither has the artist. I mean I'm sure she has, but—can you imagine the labor involved with completing these epically scaled illustrations of what Googlemaps is—in every sense and as examined on a scale that encompasses the long view of contemporary society as a whole without losing sight of the artist's hand and personal influence on any part of the project. 

What do you think about relying on GIS and GPS technologies to find your way around? 

Did you ever learn map and compass skills and then at some point get lost in an area that made you realize you had no clue how to find yourself on your map if your teacher wasn't around to show you where the starting point was? 

What do you think of N-S-W-E as being a reliable set of reference points? 

I keep two compasses on my dresser, as a sort of tribute to Felix Gonzalez Torres.. A romantic gesture for all of my lost loves that lived alongside me in that way that was guided by total unwavering knowledge that we had found reality and truth in the space of our time as lovers. 

We survived ourselves, time and break-up again, and have had to settle for this kind of romantic gesture that sounds hollow to people that don't cycle through some dozen mis-matches by the time they stop to look at the ground beneath their feet 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

time zones and the new north

Above image: Gum Works by Jean Klimack, 2008.

Transient and locked into a space of joblessness between untenable options and career goals, I have had--if nothing else--the luxury of time. Hours and days have varied with the malleable organizational allotment of this resource--a consequence and/or reward that I have little or no control over. Diminishing returns necessitate a sort of scheduling ability on my part that seems to promise me plenty of opportunities to continue a post-studio practice built around an economy of dreams and materials that have more to do with residue than representation.

How does one move on, if dream is the destination?

The Canadian artist Jean Klimack is among my SFAI peers whose work continues to offer inspiration in a way that necessitates a kind of attachment to a time and place that I want to be farther from than loss of memory could ever reach.