Running Stitch is a 5m x 5m tapestry
map, created live during the exhibition by charting the journeys
of participants through the city.
Visitors to the exhibition took a GPS-enabled mobile phone to track
their journeys through the city centre. These walks resulted in
individual GPS 'drawings' of the visitor's movements that were then
projected live in the exhibition to disclose hidden aspects of the
city. Each individual route was sewn, as it happened, into a hanging
canvas to form an evolving tapestry that revealed a sense of place
Running Stitch explores how a track made with a GPS device changes
our awareness and experience of place through the new vantage points
and perspectives afforded by the use of satellite navigation.
The GPS and the data it provides can be used to track a walker.
Being aware of, or seeing the resulting track changes the way that
we experience the spaces and places we have travelled through. The
GPS device can give a walker the viewpoint of both insider and outsider,
or in other words the perspective of the view from a tall building
that is combined with actually being immersed in an environment
at street level. The walker was aware that their movement was being
viewed at a distance, both a subject of surveillance and as a participant
in a community. The walker, who is aware of the line they are producing
and of the audience at a distance, also becomes a performer of their
relationship to a local place. It is only through being live and
participatory that the audience perceives the push and pull of the
relationship between themselves, the stitcher who sews the route
onto the canvas, and the viewer at a distance and sees the city
emerge from the canvas.
A video of the artists flying a power kite was playing at the bottom
right corner of the tapestry. They are physically dragged about
an empty beach by the kite, and are at once puppets and puppeteers.
The kite strings and the kiter’s line-of-site extends off
screen up into the canvas as if this movement, this push and pull
with the wind, is figuratively powering the stitching.