Westering presents a cross-country journey performed through the technological mediation of Google Street View. The travelogue has been constructed by removing all information except for the computer-generated, interpolated movement between the camera’s current location and a point on the horizon. The route of the video fragmentarily maps the mythological westward journey that has become part of the American vernacular by tracing the artist’s own family migration from the Port of Philadelphia to the American Midwest, continuing westward on the original coast-to-coast roadway, the Old Lincoln Highway, following on to parts of the pioneering Oregon Trail, and extending to the Pacific Ocean in California. Gesturing towards the well-established use of the cinematic image as a surrogate for geographic travel, the ability of the camera to collapse both time and physical distance is taken to an irrational extreme wherein the visual index along a route of historical significance is synchronously archived and rendered into a placeless landscape. The resulting image is, in a sense, a literal visualization of the doctrine of American progress and a meditation that questions its assumed meaning and efficacy. The experience this travel film offers is not the affirming simulation of geographic conquest, but rather a navigation through the abstract structures of time, space, and data that have sublimated our actual experience within the landscape of our own history.
Hans Gindlesberger’s practice examines how contemporary society constructs and represents concepts of place. His projects have been exhibited widely in exhibitions, festivals, and screenings, including; Galleri Image (Aarhus, Denmark), Gallery 44 (Toronto), Voies Off Photography Festival (Arles, France), and the International Symposium on Electronic Art (Albuquerque), among many others. Gindlesberger is Assistant Professor of Digital Imaging in the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech.