East to west and then back again.

Documentation – Forrest Russell and Nick Van Oirschot

This project is a culmination of my degree. Throughout I have been trying to rediscover who I am and push myself to new limits. This took place during this project in terms of both the excursion of my physical body and the discoveries of my identity and family history. I knew I wanted to walk across Montreal. To begin retracing my family migration from the east of Quebec to the west of Canada but also to travel from where I once lived in Montreal to where I live now. To better understand where I currently am. Through this moving act, I wanted to find a way to incorporate reflection. This is when the idea to print my footstep became crucial to the project. It allowed me and my fellow walkers the opportunity for pause, a time to breathe but also a moment for discovery. To take in the ground beneath us, the textural quality, to feel the weathers change, to witness those who pass us by, to look back at where we had come and look forward to where we are going. This footprint acts as a timestamp of these special moments which are very unique within themselves. Not one is the same, even though they are created by the same hand. They hold more importance within them than their exterior immediately unveils. These moments are difficult to share as they are layered and complex but I invite the viewer to interpret them as they traverse my installation, experiencing the chronological sights and sounds of this fifteen-hour (50km) journey.

All three videos have no sound as the chronological soundscape would play throughout the installation space to accompany all three videos simultaneously. However, the soundscape recorded during the walk will be attached and played on this page (controls below).

All screens start with a blue background (20 seconds) and depict the journey in chronological order from different perspectives. Screen one. The first screen showcases our feet walking, moving over diverse terrains and textures.
It is in chronological order to show the passage of time and shifts in the environment. A collage of movement. The video is displayed on a screen low to the ground to encourage the viewer to look down and potentially upward as their eye catches the prints which hang above. Each video begins with a blocked colour of blue. Lighting the room and prints with the colour.

Screen two. The second screen showcases the landscapes we passed through. These shots for the most part are void of us the performers. Focusing our attention on the places we were in and the views we witnessed. Some of them are taken
from a first-person perspective. This screen is displayed at eye level as though the viewer is looking out onto
these scenes which are playing in front of them. This would also be a change of elevation to the previous and
oncoming screen. Forcing the viewer to navigate the vertical space accordingly.

Screen three. This video focuses on us the walkers. Our trajectories, paths and actions. This includes moments of our printing process and still shots which were rare throughout this work as we were constantly moving and documenting. This video is displayed in tandem with the equipment necessary to create the prints. The shoes, spray bottle of ink and paper. This is to potentially invite the viewer to
create their own print after witnessing the process we took and attach it to the underlying clipboard. I also want the
viewer to kneel down or sit to see the video as the screen beforehand would need them to stand. Giving them like us,
an opportunity for rest and reflection as this would be the final screen they encounter. This is also why this
screen would be the furthest back in the installation.

Below is the installation being shown and experienced:

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