Friday, April 11, 2014

Walking West - Colfax Ave.

The very act of walking in the city has become a marginalized practice in many American cities yet by walking we can experience the city itself, at a human pace, as a space of discovery and encounter. The symbolic act of walking Colfax Avenue acts as a lens to focus discussion on the role of the street in the cultural, social and political life of Denver.

Walking West is a durational performance in which new media artist Conor McGarrigle will walk Denver's Colfax Avenue, the longest continuous commercial street in America, drawing a 26.2 mile line to be captured in a satellite photograph.

Walking West acts as a psychogeographic exposition of Denver as it traverses its best known, and most controversial street (once dubbed the longest, wickedest street in America by Playboy Magazine) moving from the eastern plains through the heart of downtown toward the west. 

This project is a hybrid work, which combines the resolutely analog activity of walking mediated through advanced digital technology. It highlights the ways in which digital technologies permeate all aspects of our everyday lives, seeking to leverage them as tools to support new spatial practices, which have the potential to facilitate new thinking on the city and everyday life. It builds on recent work that has explored methods of combining the 20th-century avant-garde practice of walking art and the Situationist concept of psychogeography with digital technology to foster new thinking on the role of artistic and social practices in re-enchanting urban space.

Walking West seeks to inscribe the virtual on the physical as it combines the physical act of walking with the ephemeral digital traces of its GPS track and the invisible actions of a satellite 400-miles above capturing the scene.

The path will be marked with a physical line as a GPS device simultaneously traces a virtual digital line along the route, the route will be captured from space by a commissioned satellite photograph.


Walking West takes place on Friday April 11th starting at 9am at the intersection of East Colfax Avenue and the I70 and will continue for 8-8.5 hours. All are invited to join the artist for part of the walk to discuss the project, share their Colfax experiences and help him uncover the stories, connections and associations that transform city streets into our neighborhoods.

Locations will be posted to twitter in real time under the hashtag #walkingwest during the day. In the event of snow the walk will be postponed to Friday 18th April and any change of date will be announced in advance.

Photo by Jenny Filipetti
The Artist

Conor McGarrigle is an Irish artist whose work explores the intersection of digital technologies and real space. His digitally mediated art walks have been performed internationally including at the Venice Biennale and the Miro Foundation in Mallorca. He is an assistant professor in emergent digital practices at the University of Denver, this is his second year in Denver and he loves Colfax Ave.

After Party

Join the artist to celebrate Walking West at the after party, Saturday 12th at 7pm, hosted by Counterpath Gallery.

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