Matthew Whitney

walking lines, documenting paths

Writing in the Urban Grid | 2013-2017

My work is rooted in the everyday practice of walking, combining smartphone GPS tracking apps with traditional drawing mediums as a means of excavating how a line, understood as a point moving through space, can be a mark made on paper, a series of illuminated pixels, or a path made by walking.

For many of my walks, I have been recording them via a smartphone app called My Tracks, made by Google. It uses GPS and cell tower triangulation to pinpoint one’s position, then tracks and records one’s movement through an environment. The software gives me the ability to represent a path via the recording of a digital line over a map based on where I walk. Using this tool, I can write and draw not just by pen and paper, but also by recording my walking paths through a landscape. In other words, I am able to write text into the urban grid by the direct action of walking.