Streets of Spokane, 2018-ongoing
Despite drastic differences in politics and incomes, the condition of roads is one topic that residents of Spokane agree upon. As I rattled up the route to my home one day, I thought “what if I could record the surface of the streets?” The vibration being recorded much like a seismograph records the vibration of earthquakes. This was the beginning of this project, The Streets of Spokane.
An appreciation of old technology is combined with digital techniques to generate and transform information into art. An old EKG machine found at Earthworks Recycling was repurposed and engineered into the Road Reader. The Road Reader draws a line that is based on the movement generated as my car drives over road surfaces. I have been collecting road drawings for over nine months. Some routes are specific, with surfaces particularly explored in a kind of pseudo-science experiment.
Roads are commonly used in metaphors about life and the streets of Spokane are not an exception. As I researched terms for road conditions, I noticed a connection to terms used when discussing mental health. Terms such as cracking (cracked up), depression and upheaval..this discovery pulled this body of work together.
This exhibition is the first presentation of the images and ideas generated from this project. In addition to generating visual images, I have been experimenting with translating the road drawings into sound. An artist talk and sound demonstration was held in the gallery on Oct 25 at 6:30 PM. The demonstration included an interactive sound display that allowed participants to “play” the Streets of Spokane.
The Streets of Spokane has been made possible in part by a SAGA grant from the Spokane Arts Fund.