Robert Ladislas Derr
Monumental Walk, 2009
Monumental Walk documents the thirteen equestrian statues throughout Washington D.C. and is a thirteen, two-channel split screen video installation with embedded digital images in the center of each of the video pairs. I map each equestrian statue with two video cameras, one camera continually points at the statue and the other camera captures the view of the opposite direction. My route is determined by the pedestrian access to each statue. I begin by walking the sidewalk that perimeters each statues green space, then I cross the street and enter the space, walking all of the possible sidewalk configurations in the green space. Once I have walked all of the configurations, I usually end my walk by circling the base of each equestrian statue. Each of the video pairs begin at the same time, however they end at varying times, depending on the sidewalk system. The embedded images highlight the actual statue. Almost invisible symbols in todays hectic landscape, the images juxtaposed with the arrhythmic videos create a place for the eyes to rest just as the green space around each statue. The position of each statue in the installation correlates to its location in Washington, D.C. with the top left of the installation representing the northwest quadrant of the city to the southeast in the bottom right. Viewing all of the videos together, interesting associations arise that underline the interconnectedness of everyday life. With the omnipresence of surveillance in the contemporary landscape and the resulting tensions, it is coincidental and appropriate to note that the videos of President Ulysses S. Grant were the longest and only statue where I was ordered to stop filming. During my mapping of President Grant, I recorded the Capitol police apprehending a terrorist suspect that had been under surveillance for weeks. The police, who thought I might be an accomplice, stopped me during my last circle around the base of the statue. Upon the second request to stop filming, I complied, ending Monumental Walk.
still of Monumental Walk installation