GPS statement 2011


Artist Statement for current GPS work

My GPS patterns combine a scientific approach of collecting data and representing it as scientific evidence and I have been collecting all my GPS data now since July 2005. A track is defined as an event and I might have several tracks a say if I go for a walk, a drive and a bus ride. Some lines are combined and for others I separate them into different tracks for a drive + a walk at the end of it. This is where I can control that the viewer will not necessarily know everything I do or when I do it and I can shape the visual elements. Different modes of locomotion come with different scales, speeds, rhythms and shapes. On a recent rip in Italy I drove over a mountain pass with winding hairline turns only to arrive at a resort town hopelessly lost, driving around blocks and one-way streets to locate my hotel. Some tracks repeat very often, i.e. my drives to work or my runs in the neighbourhood, others are seasonal and some are caused by imposed changes, that might be pleasant or not.

I became aware of how I moved through space very early in this process and now often choose my ways carefully in view of this awareness of doing these mostly mundane tasks. But I never just go out to ‘make tracks’ (as others have done). I have uploaded one of my more interesting run to a website where runners share their favourite runs from all over the world and was surprised that they were mostly not very interesting visually.

Coming from scientific research where I studied cell normal and abnormal development and spent many hours looking at cells to see when a variant was abnormal. Later as a weaver and artist working in textiles, the language of pattern became a main interest, how do fabrics such as pins stripes suits, jeans and kitchen towels communicate as patterns  (rather than objects) Mostly then my interest was in disrupting those patterns or making our automatic reading of them evident. Also in my hand weaving I focused on patterns that were interesting (again on the microscopic level) i.e. patterns with as many colours as possible and patterns that evolved dynamically to create narratives.

Influenced by Richard Long’s evocative walks in exotic or places, removed from the daily bustle of life, I want to instead make sense of those very mundane trips. The things we do daily, rather than those we dream about. Reading Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Wanderlust: A History of Walking’ shows that walking can have many different purposes from pilgrims and spiritual journeys to hikers, celebrating nature and healthy living and pushing their physical strength. I am also interested in the idea of exploring the city, or what Walter Benjamin calls ‘to go botanizing on the asphalt” and more absurdist structural approaches explored by ‘Situationists’ and ‘Psychogeography’, where we suspend habits and preconceptions and set up systems to discover patterns we have not seen before.

In terms of formats or medium I am currently working in parallel between digital prints, interactive websites, stitched and woven images and some 3d experiments. Each medium allows for different visual interpretation or information to be included, has different technical requirements and presents different historical or cultural contexts.

Ruth Scheuing July 2011