Epic Anticlimax: A single realization of three-dimensional Brownian motion (72 days of flight for little farfalla), 2003 – 2007
This body of work is the culmination of 72 days of travel in Italy. My camera equipment consumed my entire suitcase. Being in a constant state of travel, it became more important to have a digital point and shoot camera at hand than meticulously setting up equipment in an environment that could not be predicted. I had to be vigilant and edit on the fly since I was limited to 512 megabytes of memory and unable to schlep my laptop. I returned to Chicago with an anticlimactic 803 images.
December 8, 2003. I stepped off the plane at O’Hare, all too aware that the heightened observation that one experiences while traveling truly manifests when returning home. While in Italy I was somewhat unwilling to take full advantage of the time I had, which was rooted in the anticipation of its end. The only thing I knew for sure is that I was going home. Trying to respond to stimuli that I did not fully understand left me disoriented and overwhelmed. As if I were consuming fiction—cinema—that could be revisited at a more conscious moment. This work is an exercise in futility, which reexamines and attempts to recreate the experience.
Hyper aware that I had taken tourist snapshots and that they could not reflect the truth of my experience led me to approach the images from another angle. 803 images did not register as enough data to express the impact I felt. I began to consider them one at a time pixel by pixel - a workable method of managing the information that I gathered. Dividing this pool of data into individual pixels resulted in 4 billion pieces of information. A more accurate portrayal. I began to search the grid for the right form—or manner of looking. I began a series of experiments, which I had an aesthetic appreciation for however they did not render an accurate depiction. Using a method of selecting and tracing pixels, I began to generate a map that would hypothetically trace my path in Italy. I chose specific locations, made composites and assessed the value of a simultaneous view of multiple grids. The color and position of the individual traces are preserved. Photographs are arranged and layered based on where and when they were taken. The background color is the result of a color average of every pixel from the group. Through this type of deconstruction my own fictionalized relationship to Italy began to manifest as reality. I considered the complexity of trajectories in nature such as patterns created by butterfly movement, which derived from my research of Brownian motion and random walks, their interrelatedness and specific connection to this body of work. I discovered that tracing pixels actually generated paths, which mimicked the random walk. Each pixel began to read as a step within the larger journey. The ability to determine sense and reason from this experience comes in the form of slow intake and a lengthy process of distillation. It was important to include all of the information. It was important to reconstruct the information. It was important to view the results simultaneously.