Yesterday was the opening of Fronting Motion at Esther Klein Gallery. It was really great to hear people’s reactions again. People like the work so much. They say it feels like being in more than one place at the same time. They feel like the world of data, that is surrounding us, now also can lead to a meditative experience. They really enjoyed the realism of the car sounds, as opposed to the abstract visualization. They say: the space you leave for us as an audience, to have our own interpretation of the experience is so great. At the end of the evening, when the traffic on both sides became fairly quiet, people again enjoyed it as the landscape is mesmerizing and the expectation of something “going to happen” depending on the reality “out there” was very delightful and powerful.
Today I visited Austin Serapin again. I made him new maps, using the marker for tactile lines I described before. It was very fascinating to see him explore cartography, as he has hardly any experience with graphics. His mobility teacher once drew maps on his back explaining which routes to take.
A few weeks ago we went to the Barnes Foundation. Besides its collection, a special exhibition was on show: The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne
Using a special volume ink-marker, I made a tactile version of our map, to explain the project to Austin Seraphin. We invited him to participate in the project as we are interested in how his use of echolocation changed his experience and use of the city space. Can he consider himself an immigrant in a new layer of the city that has opened up for him using this new “tool” ?
Today we gave a car ears. By pasting a microphone on each side, we turned the car into a hearing body… I was sitting in the back seat of the car, wearing the headphones that were attached to the car’s temporary ears. As it drove I was hearing what the car was hearing. Very exiting! I never knew how a car experiences the road, the curves, the crossings… but now I do….
After dividing the city almost at random into 24 equal squares, which felt very ruthless, we have carefully added small notes to each square. The notes contain predictions of what we might find there based on our research…. Now if we travel to any block, we know what to expect.
Community engagement is a huge goal for our project, and one of the ways we plan to achieve that while here is with a series of “Pole Photography” workshops. Pole photography is a fun way to take aerial photos. The best part? No helicopters or satellites needed.
In our experience the city space as it emerges here in Philadelphia consists of different elements, and the “landscape of flow” is formed as much by objects as by humans. We intend to work with both human and non-human protagonists and also involve mobile and static objects. Both need different recording approaches.
Last night was PolakVanBekkum’s very first feedback meeting in the DM+D space, and the theme was “Mobility in Virtual Worlds.” The atmosphere was friendly and the conversations that arose throughout the night only added to the success of the event. By showing film clips, YouTube videos, and discussing examples from past works, Esther and Ivar paved the way for some interesting discussions.