Road Art Collaboration Project

Princeton Atelier

Atelier 2004

[Eds. note: The description below was printed alongside several images that the class had collaborated on together with Manter.]

I began a Road Art series two years ago, inspired by reports of several fatal car accidents on a back-country road in Maine. I became aware of the overlapping skid marks on these roads, and the tragedy of the teenage drivers who lost their lives that year. Over time, I observed that these marks began to build up a history. They seemed to be a series of collaborations between “silent partners,” made up of skid marks by the intersection of cars and lost souls. I, too, began to overlay my own skid marks on top of existing ones, but with far less intensity and speed. I thought of them as an homage to these lost souls, recalling memories from my own reckless driving on back country roads in Maine. Curiously, these images — which I have used in recent works — are much like the paintings and paper pulp pieces I have been creating for several years now.

As a class, we have collected skids marks in a variety of media. They ranged from real skid marks taken on road sites to drawings inspired by the road marks and produced on a disemboweled Magna Doodle (the childhood drawing tool). Although all of these skid marks have been physically “erased” over time due to their material limitations, they have been documented through digital scanning and printing processes. Using the Frist digital display wall, we wanted to do something that could not be presented in another medium. The images we have collected have been erased and are now living only in the virtual world, preserved specifically for this project. The scale and color have been manipulated somewhat to disguise their source, and to expand, transform and abstract them into a medium that can be interpreted on many levels.

A collection of our images has been organized into a presentation exploring the visual, conceptual and experiential forms of the trace. Given the diverse backgrounds and academic interests of the students, this piece will hopefully express a wide and yet challenging vision of landscape in the twenty-first century. Road Art is the mark, the trace and memory of the human force, that suggests the “desire lines” we have created as well as inflicted on our selves. A sense of hope, beauty, fear and the unknown are embodied in these disparate road art landscape images. Our goal in the Atelier has been to create new and challenging forms, gestures and questions, and to navigate the ever changing landscaped roads we have designed and cultivated in the twenty-first century.

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