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While on Vacation: An American Driving to London

Artist Statement

In today's society there are so many tools available that help us in our daily lives. For example, we can connect around the world by a touch of a button, an idea that was first introduced by Marshall McLuhan's Global Village.

True to his idea, the ability to interact with anyone at anytime has changed the way in which we live our lives. We are so attached to the devices and tools that make our everyday lives easier, that we have forgotten about the world that is right outside our door.

I feel that we have forgotten about the world that we exist in because of the highly personal experience that we are a part of though the use of current technologies. I feel that it is so important to look up and see the world, interact with it and stay involved or it will pass you by. This piece speaks directly to this statement through image, text, and sound.

This piece was created in a response to my recent experience. While on vacation in England, I had the opportunity to drive from Bolton near Manchester to London; a three-hour journey that I felt would provide me with a wonderful experience of seeing some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. However, due to the stress of driving in another country, on the wrong side of the road, and the wrong side of the car, I choose to use a GPS system to help me on my trip.

Once I arrived in London I realized that I had missed it ... all of it. By using the GPS I was directed by technology to get me there in the most efficient way, and I missed out on the scenery because I was so caught up in following the directions to get me there.

The work is more than 3 hours and 20 minutes long – the exact time that it took to travel the distance in the car. The length of this work is influenced by Sleep (1963) and Empire (1964), both by Andy Warhol. I want to provide the viewer with a true representation of time. During the drive to London we captured the sound of the car and this has been added to my piece. At times you can hear the rain on the windshield. The voice and words presenting the viewer with the directions is the final element of the work. I feel that combining all of these elements was the only way to completely represent the experience.

On the web: http://web.me.com/mandy.cowell/FA363/London.html

Artist: Amanda Cowell