From February 10th - May 20th 2013, working in collaboration with MOCAtv, I walked 1000 miles throughout Los Angeles, 10 miles a day over a 100 day period. The idea for the project began a year ago, when I had started to become interested in the whittled down, comminuted substances of existence (how a drop of water, for example, can account for an entire ocean). Investigating this further I realized that within our technology we are living in a world more and more filled with intangibles, things we can fully grasp mentally but can never do so physically, examples being everything from the actual memory of someone you loved or left to the text message or notification blinking back at you on a screen. I wanted to answer the question of what was the comminuted substance of that intangible world within phones, computers, tablets, and our own memory. The answer to the atom of that world was binary- a simple code of 1's and 0's that can account for nearly everything on a screen. Incorporating this number structure, I organized a 1000 mile walk performance throughout Los Angeles over the course of 100 days, completing 10 miles per day. The fragmentation of the project was key, as memories sometimes are, with one remembering the middle, the end, what came before, what came after and then the beginning. The only linear habitual string was that for each walk I wore the same thing. My uniform was an all-white outfit and a small satchel where I kept my film. Every morning I threw a dart at a map of the city to indicate my start point; I would then shape each day’s route as a hieroglyph of the journey in either a line, a scribble, a crude drawing or a geometric shape. Everything I found and saw was documented in a short video series and an upcoming set of books, the project being my attempt to make a tangible form of each step and memory created while walking, to turn those no longer tangible 1000 miles into something decipherable and into something that you can hold.
I was living nowhere at the time.
On planes I used watch cities turn to stars, lights dwindling and winding down into small spheres, each building blinking back at me through some shroud of cloud.
And memories long like shadows running their way from gnarled lampposts hanging in Fukushima, wandering through parts of a person that I didn’t know I had inside me and those skies seen from an airplane so long ago, every two weeks on a different flight, in a different car, a different train. Running as slow as I could from everything and everyone around me. Through lenses like mine, blue as an infant, brown in those years, and with water walking around their rims so often too often when remembering what it was that was to me and those things that I had left to leave to myself for later. Time and its ever encroaching constraints coming through like winds working on themselves and people that I’ve seen now and then are always and too often far from me and the people I’ve seen from there and then on have faces far uglier in places where yours once was. There’s no memory you can outrun.
My mind always there and the lakes like fires burning images of sky in front of me while landscapes nearby blur by as the train goes on and on and every face from here to there, around this elastic band which splits each and every hemisphere here, each face has hands as if touched by yours and yours walking wondering and moving forward and forth and all those people - strangers, friends, friends now strangers - everything running itself around as if the world were nothing to negate but a place to relate and come together, to hone in home and to have that focus I once had when I had what I once had when I had you and those nights lightless listless move on through papers in my mind, cabinets held up with others and the wings of those women running through fiction finding in shadows memories more moving than any images on any screen.
Why is it that the world wants what it does, that no matter what we try to leave we can’t forget what we want to, can’t remember what we want to; that I have to remind myself to remember to forget and forget to remember? You can’t burn away a memory. Prisms and pyramids of thought with tombs and rooms long forgotten but always able to be explored in faces of another reminding me of yours.
And days wandering later, my mind having run and ran and run and ran from as many people as it could, as many things as it could, that forever state of something, like waking up and feeling someone or something pulling the ribbons of a dream from your mind to where the images are no longer there, like Niépce staring into a glass plate watching images disappear into ether before creating fixer: running wandering wondering and waiting for forever to appear, now here: nowhere.
And to everyone that I’ve ever left and to anyone that I’ve ever followed and failed- those people, strangers, and so many things; one August morning while walking: a bird running along a wire before jumping into traffic, catching passing inertia and turning it into flight. Waiting for the bus in rains that normally don’t fall but for whatever reasons on cloudless days they drip like so many grains of sand from a cliff. Rain, is it not the erosion of clouds, the granules of its drops the comminuted forms of the vapor solids floating and flowing in huge masses en masse above us? And what is the weight of a cloud? Whose form does it take on and have when with eyes marred and scarred from things seen around me I am staring neverending into that pale blue watching those tufts drift by in bluffs of vapor vaulting vaunting imagery of animals and other things to me while next to me a child is screaming to his mother the names of shapes and extending his arm and fingers upwards in attempts to grasp those things far off in the distance that one can never hold but will someday smell, feel and taste in the form of various phrases of rain: weather.
Time and memory enfolding everything and the weight of this word, that word word, being nothing, it being so small that if it were an object it wouldn’t even have atoms, it wouldn’t measure in any microscope. That is how we are, who we are; and our emotions, though sometimes all encompassing, matter just as much as that word word exists- they matter just as little as that that.
How fast a hummingbird must move its wings in order to stay still.