maryflanagan.com


single channel video

American writer Henry David Thoreau extolled going forth in the world to experience its bounty and characteristics through the simple act of walking. Thoreau avoided highways, choosing instead to wander with indirectness in order to understand the spiritual possibilities of the landscape: “Two or three hours’ walking will carry me to as strange a country as I expect…”

[borders] is video documentation of a series of such walks, conducted virtually in popular, shared online multi-user worlds. The rendered landscape is beautiful and hypnotic and we are transported directly into Thoreau’s walking shoes, “glimps(ing) Elysium, but only as he walked along, surveying the boundaries and divisions…” 

In [borders:aquitaine], walking exposes inherent traits and glitches of the virtual by testing its edges. Walking through real wilderness leads one to see beyond the boundary(s) both mental and physical. In virtual worlds owned by thousands of players, there appear to be seamless landscapes as far as the eye can see, appearing to some extent as the “commons” of old. One can find, however, and walk along invisible boundaries of ownership, breaking up the illusion of a cohesive landscape. In following the invisible virtual property lines separating one player’s property from another, the walker may become stuck in stones, forced underwater or pushed teetering at the edge of the world –exposing the algorithmic nature of landscape rendering and the cut-off points between subscribers or those who have virtual ownership. Thus, this border-walk dwells on the limitations of virtual property ownership and the way in which behavior and point of view are affected when intersecting with these invisible disruptions in the seamless world, exposing its constructed nature. 
Included in the series:
[borders: aquitaine]
[borders: chichen itza]
[borders: giza]
[borders: pantheon]
[borders: glengarry]
[borders: great wall]
[borders: la rocca]

Exhibitions:

Media Arts Dortmund, Cologne November
Machinigglitch, ARCADE, Festival Gamerz 9, Aix on Provence
Up Up Down Down Left Right at Spaces gallery Cleveland
The NYU Gallery at Conflux Festival, New York
World Wild Web, Furtherfield Gallery, London
Maryland Institute College of Art
Computational Thinking in Existing Art Forms, Writing Machine Collective, Hong Kong
SIMULTAN #6 ‘Past Continuous. Future Perfect.’ Timisoara, Romania
Future Selves, Big Screen Project, New York

A video excerpt from my walk around Aquitaine Castle in France.



A video excerpt from my walk around the virtual construction of Chichen Itza,
a Mayan archaeological site on the Yucatán Peninsula in contemporary Mexico.



Video excerpt from my walk around Villa Almerico-Capra,
also known as 'La Rotonda', a 16th century manor house and grounds in Vicenza, Italy.