Walking and Mapping: Artists as Cartographers
An exploration of walking and mapping as both form and content in art projects using old and new technologies, shoe leather and GPS.
From Guy Debord in the early 1950s to Richard Long, Janet Cardiff, and Esther Polak more recently, contemporary artists have returned again and again to the walking motif. Today, the convergence of global networks, online databases, and new tools for mobile 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. She offers close readings of these projects―many of which she was able to experience firsthand―and situates them in relation to landmark works from the past half-century. 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 phenomenon.
Karen O’Rourke is an artist and Professor of Digital Art at Jean Monnet University Saint-Etienne, France. Her work has been exhibited in Europe, the United States, and South America.