Laura Hindmarsh: Runtime (2017)

Laura suggests you watch this work on a mobile device with your headphones. Eds

A map zooms in, and out, and in, setting us down in the English countryside. A superimposed yellow line stretches out along the narrow road as the specifics of locality warp and waver, the image now and then playing catch-up to the thrust of digital momentum, as in the works of Daniel Crooks. The narrator is also in motion, guided by a running app, unheard by us but which we are told provides “purpose but not direction.” All we hear is the artist’s voice, her breathing, and the slap of running feet on asphalt.

But are we being led on or left behind? An unnerving sense of remove pervades the information relayed from the running app’s temporally specific goal-setting and the GPS’s spatially specific renderings. While the narrator grows increasingly breathless trying to keep us updated, we struggle to discern the realities of the distance being covered, the destination being deferred. This sense of dislocation allows the work to map the points at which the perceived continuity of the digital realm stumbles and fails to integrate our lived experience. Each individual element is gesturing towards a time or space outside the immediate — each to their own elsewhere, so that the viewer is inclined to ask where we are, in relation to all of this.

The narration explicitly breaks from the rhythm of hedges and paths and roads, as Hindmarsh tells us that she is entering the unstructured space of fields and wildflowers. The image rotates from one flat-lined fence to another, helpless to follow beyond the roadways it has been designed to chart. The freedoms afforded by digital movement have a corresponding set of limitations.

We can locate ourselves for a time, in a space, through a screen. But every captured image, every recorded sound is a sign either side of the present, leading us to falter “out of breath, out of step, out of time.” Elyssia Bugg

See more works by Laura Hindmarsh. Hindmarsh is one of the artists featured in the 2017 MCA Primavera (23 Aug-19 Nov), which also includes Jacobus Capone, one of the artists commissioned for our RealTime Video Gallery

13 September 2017