Hyperallergic Reviews Indeterminate Hikes in LA Re.Play at UCLA, curated by Mimi Sheller and Hana Iverson

Photo credit: An Xiao

An Xiao, “Where Psychogeography Meets Mobile Phones,” February 28, 2012

From the article:

“One part psychogeography and one part GPS, the Android [Indeterminate Hikes] application guides users through their landscape but reactivates it through a series of prompts determined by artists:

This mobile app imports the rhetoric of wilderness into virtually any place accessible by Google Maps, creates hikes and encourages its hiker-participants to treat the locales they encounter as spaces worthy of the attention accorded to sublime landscapes, such as canyons and gorges. Thus the ecological wonder usually associated with “natural” spaces, such as national parks, is re-appropriated here to renew awareness of the often-disregarded spaces in our culture that also need attention, such as alleyways, highways and garbage dumps.

Prompts included meditative practices like this one: “Take a picture of a cloud. If there are no clouds, improvise as you see fit.” Others call for greater awareness of the cityscape, asking participants to stop “until you feel the rumble of combustion engines.” Then there are social practices like asking passersby if they’ve seen a rabbit in the area.

Artist Cary Peppermint, who worked on “Indeterminate Hikes+,” shared some of his images from a “Fox Trot” he did through the swanky neighborhood of Bel Air. His response to this prompt stayed with me for a while: “Locate the light source illuminating your path — the moon, the sun, the stars, or streetlights. Notice the shadows and colors it creates. Wait for a change in light before you continue.”

The prompt calls for “the moon, the sun, the stars,” but in Los Angeles, the source of light could only mean a street light. His shot appears sideways, confused, perhaps because he’s struggling to find some other source. That answer lies further beyond, in the glow of bright lights from elsewhere in the city reflecting off the smoggy atmosphere.”

LA Re.Play: An Exhibition of Mobile Art was on display at UCLA’s Broad Art Center (240 Charles E. Young Dr. Los Angeles) during the 2012 CAA conference, which took place February 22 to 26.