Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Walking Drifting Dragging

Log of Limits (Snow Walks) by Ellie Ga
It is becoming increasingly hard to feel a sense of place in our current globalized world. Wherever you are, you're instantly connected to everywhere else you have ever been and there is both a consoling and frustrating familiarity to the world. The internet is everywhere along with KFC, McDonald’s and a host of spinoffs that infect even the most third world of third world countries. OK Pyongyang might be the exception. The discipline of psychogeography and the work of writers like W.G. Sebald and Will Self  devoted as they are to unfolding the historical connections and memories which create a sense of uniqueness in place is a countervailing movement in our culture. The Walking Drifting Dragging show  recently exhibited at the New Museum explored this tendency in visual media. Four artists  defined boundaries within specific terrains: The New Yorker, Ellie Ga, dealt with the Arctic, Eunji Cho from Seoul studied crossing points in Berlin, Paulo Nazareth’s (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) worn down sandals attested to his trek from Brazil to New York City and Mriganka Madhukaillya and Sonal Jain of Desire Machine Collective (Guwahati, India) used video and a hand drawn map to trace out river pathways between Northern India and Bangladesh. The show was part of the Museum as Hub project, devoted to themes of internationalism in art and while most museums play lip service to indigenous culture, Walking Drifting Dragging had the curious effect of making the viewer stop in his tracks long enough to recognize that he or she might be creating their own path, right there and then.

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