Road Residue: the Accumuating Miles , 2006
I’m interested in how to represent experience, process, and change. How do you document your life? What kinds of things do you save from an important event? Road Residue: the Accumulating Miles is an on-going project that frames travel by car throughout the United States. Part performance, part Petri dish, part experimental film, each piece is a direct material representation of the process; sheets of acetate are attached to the windshield or grill of my car as I drove cross-country; the material residue from the trip—salt, rain, insects, the imprint of windshield wipers, a license plate and dried water reservoirs, collected on the sheets.
The series culminates in sculptural light box installations, but could also be understood as experimental film; each piece records the passage of time using frames of plastic “film” to capture/secure an image. The acetate sheets are not simply “imprints” of reality; they are also emblems of experience. Each piece records specific events or important rites-of-passage over the past 15 years, such as relocating from the west coast to New York City (Interior Screens: San Diego to New York), returning to my hometown Milwaukee (Return: San Diego to Milwaukee) or documenting the weekly trips back and forth from Providence to Cambridge to visit my girlfriend (Cambridge <> Providence). Therefore, each trip is also imbued with this kind of emotional investment.
I am keenly aware of the impact that driving has on the environment. Rather than view this series as romanticizing travel, I see it as expressing a kind of sweat equity, a performance of movement, time, and effort that is conveyed in every splotch. My interest lies in creating something that is less of an object (or noun) and more of a process (or verb). In this way, process becomes not only a strategy, but also a metaphor for experience itself. - Ann Torke