Lines Made by Walking
2003
Looped sequence of 35mm photographic transparencies, projected with 2 second interval at size 175 x 263 cm.

Commissioned by Beck's Futures, ICA, London
   
   
 

This piece is a projected slide piece consisting of a series of photographic transparencies shot at a fixed viewpoint, as documentation of a performance by the artist.

The viewer sees the artist, dressed in a suit, walking backwards and forwards in a crowd of commuters. The figure of the artist appears and disappears amongst the others surrounding her, who appear similar to her. We see the artist come towards us, turn and disappear back into the crowd. This action is repeated this until we realize that she appears, in fact, to be ‘inscribing’ a line in the crowd. She appears to be restaging works by the Situationists as much as Richard Long, particularly his ‘A Line Made by Walking’ much as her activity can also be read as that of a the clockwork toy or caged animal pacing in captivity. She appears as if displaced, or within a different temporal continuum: the artist appears to be repeating the workers’ daily journey but at a faster speed. Her struggles to create a space within the crowd become a deadpan parallel for artistic‘struggle’. The artwork appears balanced between two states, as confined as the daily monotony of the commuters’ journey and as some kind of free act hidden within monotony, but equally within its own modes of institutionalization.

As a projected slide piece, the rhythm of the slides changing automatically within the projector (at a 2 second interval) adds a sense of inevitability and a machinic rhythm to the work, plus a cyclical form which enhances the meaning of the piece.

 

Sequence of stills from Lines Made by Walking, 2003