[NetBehaviour] Walking And Mapping: Artists as Cartographers - book

netbehaviour netbehaviour at furtherfield.org
Mon Apr 15 17:06:08 CEST 2013

Walking And Mapping | Artists as Cartographers | By Karen O'Rourke


Contemporary artists beginning with Guy Debord and Richard Long have 
returned again and again to the walking motif. Debord and his friends 
tracked the urban flows of Paris; Long trampled a path in the grass and 
snapped a picture of the result (A Line Made by Walking). Mapping is a 
way for us to locate ourselves in the world physically, culturally, or 
psychologically; Debord produced maps like collages that traced the 
“psychogeography” of Paris. Today, the convergence of global networks, 
online databases, and new tools for location-based mapping coincides 
with a resurgence of interest in walking as an art form. In Walking and 
Mapping, Karen O’Rourke explores a series of walking/mapping projects by 
contemporary artists. Some chart “emotional GPS”; some use GPS for 
creating “datascapes” while others use their legs to do “speculative 
mapping.” Many work with scientists, designers, and engineers.

O’Rourke offers close readings of these works—many of which she was able 
to experience firsthand—and situates them in relation to landmark works 
from the past half-century. She shows that the infinitesimal details of 
each of these projects take on more significance in conjunction with 
others. Together, they form a new entity, a dynamic whole greater than 
the sum of its parts. By alternating close study of selected projects 
with a broader view of their place in a bigger picture, Walking and 
Mapping itself maps a complex phenomena.

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