THE SENSATION OF BEING LOST: A Micro-Interview with Jeremy Wood
ES: Your project “My Ghost” depicts your daily life (2000-2012) in London in what looks like the visual equivalent of a cardiac MRI! Especially the ones on a dark background, both intimate and detached at the same time. These GPS drawings, what you call “digital mark making with satellite navigation technology,” are your personal cartography, documenting a kind of pilgrimage. What first drew you to employing this means to illustrate and document the private and everyday?
JW: Whilst editing my early GPS drawings I found there to be a wealth of detail in my in-between movements. Like a visual journal they capture how I interact with the world, and unlike conventional maps they portray places as I experienced them. From the clouds of data positions gathered whilst waiting at traffic signals to the smooth straight tracks of train journeys, these qualities of line can map the way we engage with our surroundings. And it’s valuable information, not just for big businesses, but for us as individuals: to see our moments in the past can shape our future environments.
ES: By tracking what you call a “personal reading of movements” with such precision suggests a hyper self-awareness on the part of the maker and therefore, as a result, for the observer. Asking and isolating the question: where are we exactly? Does the opposite inform your work in any way? the prospect of being lost?
JW: Very much so. It is becoming increasingly difficult to experience the sensation of being lost and it’s one that I cherish. It reminds us to question information presented as authoritative. For instance, GPS does not tell us where we are; it tells us where the GPS receiver thinks it is. Where we are, where we think we are, and where we’re told we are—all very different problems that are lovely to work with.
ES: The titles and the text that accompany “My Ghost” and “Traverse Me” are both poetic and key to appreciating the work. I’ve read you consider your work as artist and mapmaker as an expression of the poetry and politics of space. Could you share some of your thoughts about that?
JW: The way we negotiate our movements in the world is nuanced with emotional, physical, and cultural combinations. Maps can express territories of feelings and ideas that cannot be reached with words alone.
Jeremy Wood is a UK-based GPS artist. Wood has pioneered the act of drawing and mapping with satellite navigation technology and video by treating himself as a geodesic pencil. His personal cartography reveals a unique and detailed interaction with space and time. His work he describes as an expression of the poetry and politics of space and reflects upon how we treat our travels and interact with location.
Specializing in public artworks and commissions, Wood offers distinctive approach to the reading and writing of places. His work is exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collection of the London Transport Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the University of the Arts in London. He has conducted numerous GPS drawing and mapping lectures and workshops in schools, museums and galleries and continues to make drawings and maps of his daily travels with GPS.
He holds an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s in London and a First Class Fine Art Degree from the University of Derby. He was born in San Francisco in 1976 and grew up in Berlin and currently lives and works in Oxfordshire, England. For more information, visit jeremywood.net, tagfinearts.com and warwickartscentre.co.uk.