How technology produces particular sorts of knowledge, especially within the realm of exploration, is at the heart of Technological Exploits. Combining performance art, installation, GPS and web-based tracking, and documentary photographic practice within the framework of a scientific experiment, Technological Exploits is an opportunity to find out how an unguided technological traveler experiences and represents the the natural world. In the most simple terms, this project involved launching a small plexi-glass orb containing a digital still camera and a GPS tracking device in the Exploits River in Grand-Falls/Windsor, NL.
While on the river, the Orb took still images at 5 second intervals and sent real-time tracking data to a web-based map. I followed the Orb in a canoe, at a distance, and wrote down my observations from the field while back at the gallery an assistant, using information that was uploaded to the web from the GPS tracker, updated printed maps that were on display with time and location data. Once the Orb was retrieved, the images taken by the GoPro camera were turned into a short animation that was displayed in the gallery along with the other performance artifacts. The resulting animation provides an abstracted view unique to the manner in which it was created.
Thematically, the piece offers a gentle parody of a perverse scientism that embraces the detached observation of cameras and tracking devices over the embedded knowledge of actual river explorers. By employing both high tech equipment (cameras and GPS trackers) and low tech approaches (my attempts to maintain visual contact with the Orb via canoe) I hope to link the past and the present and provide viewers with a different experience of, and possible way of knowing, the Exploits River.
For an excerpt of the animation, Journey of the Orb, as well as other animations produced by ‘Orby’, please visit the Orby Animations page in the Film/Video section of this website. You can also read my speech given on the banks of the Exploits River prior to launching the Orb.