On Tracking

Tracking is basically a technique to record and visualise the path an object leaves behind itself through space and time by the use of a GPS receiver. For the period of one year so far I tracked my own paths through the urban fabrics of the cities I live in and visit, namely London, Berlin, Paris and New York City.

We always carry around with us mental maps of the spaces we have visited throughout our lifetime. The here displayed GPS-drawings as a result of my walks through the different cities are to me some kind of mnemonic device forming a learning technique that aids and constitutes memory. In contrast to the maps we are used to look at these resulting maps are subjective representations on spatial experience and therefore much closer to our own memory.

As a result my experiences of wandering the city seem to be far more focused and palpable now, each line representing a different story I can recall – the city as a palimpsest, helping me to form a clearer image of its underlying fabric. I see myself in this context in the tradition of the Flaneur as described by Walter Benjamin as well as being influenced by the Situationists around Guy Debord and books like Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City.

For a video animation of the Tracking series please go to TRACKING London/Berlin/Paris/NewYorkCity on vimeo.