Middle Name: Valentinas
Last Name: Rutkauskas
Nominated by: Joan Fontcuberta
My project «Virtually There» illustrates how technology can enable an experience in the natural environment without the necessity of venturing outdoors. For this series, I downloaded GPS tracks from the Internet, looked at archival photographs, and consulted topographic maps in order to plan routes. I then captured images in Google Earth, and reenacted the virtual journeys in real life, making my own photographs of the Canadian Rocky Mountains with a large format camera.
This series draws on the history of landscape photography and the romantic era, yet takes a new approach by challenging the hierarchy of images made by pressing the shutter of a camera, against images that are the product of exclusively virtual explorations. The role of the artist-as-photographer is reconsidered, as both the view made in a virtual environment and the view recorded by the camera offer something unique to the spectator.
Stretching 8,891 kilometres, the border between Canada and the United States of America is the world’s longest shared land boundary. Artistic representations of borders and migration play a major role in contemporary culture, yet there is no significant photographic investigation of this boundary existing today. Once referred to as ‘undefended’, my project «Borderline» undertakes a survey of this landscape monitored by subtle technologies, including improvised barriers, gates, X-ray scanners, and other forms of surveillance. Humans are discouraged from lingering in this territory, which is vast and arguably impossible to control.
I have already begun making images of the infrastructure and architecture along this border, and when complete, it will be my most substantial project to date. I will work with approximately fifty final photographs for a publication. A selection of these images, made with a 4×5” camera, will be enlarged as chromogenic prints for exhibition (roughly 102x127cm each).