Cruising Around

Part 2 of the two-pieces video installation Perceiving L.A. Within 109 Days

Part 1: 240 Screenshots (6 digital prints, diasec, à 112 x 102 cm, 2006)
Part 2: Cruising Around (2006, PAL 4:3, colour, stereo, 20:30 min, off-voice: Daniel R. Gould)

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© Exhibition view: Feine.Radikale, Freiraum Museumsquartier, Vienna, 2006

Coordinates Don’t Have Any Ideas and Maps Don’t Go Astray on Their Own

Who hasn’t followed a route already taken on a map again later and compared the countryside passed with the paraphrased terrain? Being able to pursue one’s desire on a plan is beautiful, as spaces and subjective interests easily lead one astray—productively.

In the two-part work Perceiving L.A. Within 109 Days, Annja Krautgasser selected five routes in Los Angeles that aroused her own subjective interest. Annja Krautgasser “went astray” in time and space, and traced the “urban atmosphere” or pursued “day-after-day” interests. We can follow her routes on the maps comprised of satellite images.

Daniel Quinn, the private detective in Paul Oster’s City of Glass, also pursued an interest not his own. Quinn had to observe a man, Stillmann, and followed him through the city. Stillmann always took one route in a particular neighbourhood, and Quinn noted exactly what Stillmann did. Quinn found an overall pattern: transferred onto a map of the city, the routes showed vast letters. Quinn lined them up as “OWEROFBAB” and supplemented them to form “Tower of Babel”—his arbitrary ascription of meaning became an even larger puzzle.

Krautgasser’s large-scale aerial photographs are also accompanied by the video Cruising Around, which pursues the routes taken from a bird’s-eye view. Crosshairs in the centre of the image always shows the precise location and is accompanied by an off-voice narration. The overview is only suggested, and as with the map comprised of satellite images, the constructed clarity can be confused with an explication. Both parts of the work function cleverly by using precision as a veil. In the video passages one knows exactly where one is but does not know the route, and in the aerial photographs one knows the path taken but what it was in the details that was so interesting remains a secret.

Quinn construed relationships and only formulated an even bigger puzzle with his solution. In Krautgasser’s work, we are induced to follow found stretches, and so to follow unknown desires and their convoluted paths. This conceals risks, but also has an appeal as crosshairs can show us the point where we are but not why we are there—this needs the narrative. With the ploy of providing loquacious signs and their agents with an arena for their desire to deceive us, our own histories gain space to supplement the narrative gaps. One does not go astray on a map but in one’s own presumptions about the map.

(Matthias Klos)

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© Video stills

Exhibitions: • Feine.Radikale, Freiraum Museumsquartier, Wien/Vienna, A 2006 • In Between, Austria Contemporary, Tel Aviv, IL 2008

No: 06-005