SOME FIFTY MILES OF CONCRETE PAVEMENT, 2013
Some Fifty Miles of Concrete Pavement was a collaborative project between David Birkin and Jeremy Hutchison.
On a day in April, David walked 25 miles northeast across the Mojave Desert, following Walter de Maria's now vanished Parallel Lines (1968). At the same time, Jeremy left his studio in east London and walked 25 miles southwest. They failed to meet in the middle.
For a period of two months, the artists worked in geographical isolation from one another: David in the US, and Jeremy in the UK. Taking Eisenhower’s 1953 speech The Chance for Peace as their starting point, the collaborators soon veered off course, wandering through conversational territories in their effort to find common ground.
Through sculpture, video, sound, text and photography, the exhibition that followed documented the complications of this virtual exchange, and their repeated efforts to meet — both physically and ideologically — and to bridge the ocean between them.
Some Fifty Miles of Concrete Pavement is an attempt at correspondence. It is a monument to the mismatched: a study of conflict from conflicting perspectives, and an exercise in equivalence. It is about proximity and scale, land art and Skype. It’s also about friendship.
'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. [...] The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.'
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
Some Fifty Miles of Concrete Pavement, 2013. Digital inkjet print; 30 x 48 inches.
C-type prints; 12 x 16 inches.
El Mirage dry lake, Mojave Desert, California -- site of Walter de Maria's Parallel Lines (1968)
Some Fifty Miles, 2013. Installation of 17-inch video monitors.
'Meaningless work is potentially the most abstract, concrete, individual, foolish, indeterminate, exactly determined, varied, important art-action-experience one can undertake today.'
Walter de Maria, 1960