Tania Ruiz Gutiérrez *1973, Bogotá, Colombia. Lives and works in Paris, France
Örebro’s invitation suggested the need to strengthen the links between different parts of the city. Given that the temporality of public space is one of my main subjects of investigation, instead of proposing a sculpture or a bridge, I decided to invest the walking times between the Central Station and Järntorget square. This perspective focuses on human activities rather than on the space itself. The purpose of Örebro Variations is to contribute to the production of public space, considering such a space as the symbolic agent that bonds us together – without forgetting that it is also a place of negotiation, conflict and surveillance.
Örebro Variations proposes to the viewers a choice from predefined paths inside the town, each one corresponding to a film. These films are to be displayed on the screen of the viewer’s phone, while he or she walks along the matching path. As the represented place is the same we are experiencing, we might have at first the impression of filming instead of watching; but gradually other times and other places mingle with our course. The town becomes a collage: a place crossed by other places. Whispering in our ears, other people walk with us. The viewer can stop at any time and start again the film and their mutual walk
This project is inspired by masterworks able to reveal the subjective experience of urban walking. I am thinking of Balzac, Whitman, Poe, or more recently Teju Cole and Sergio Chejfec, among many others. Another fundamental reference is the Canadian artist Janet Cardiff, who has first proposed the artistic device of the audio walks, and has been experimenting with “video walks” since 1999.
Some of my previous works refer to a sort of cinema archaeology, notably Elsewhere -in Malmö Central Station- evoking a moving panorama. As for Örebro Variations, it recalls the Lumière brothers’ cinematograph, which is both a camera and a movie projector. Today, the so-called ‘smart’ phone renews and shortens this feat. For David Le Breton, walking nowadays is an act of resistance, favouring slowness, uselessness, availability, conversation, silence, curiosity and friendship and for Antoine de Baecque, the real urban walker is like a reader: the street is his open book. But nowadays we often walk looking at our phones, trying to keep up with the pace of the world. Örebro Variations suggests that this window, keeping us away from present time and place, can also bring us closer to them.
“OpenArt Örebro variation”
For the Open Art festival 2017, one special variation has been designed. While the other films escort you to Järntorget, this one ends at Stortorget by Drottinggattan, the main information point of the festival. This Variation contains a brief essay that reflects upon various forms of ‘open art’ of the 20th and 21st centuries.