'S' is a collaborative project between Gudrun Filipska in the Uk and the Canadian artist Carly Butler. It involves a combination of real and virtual walking, various documented mapping processes, a series of photographs, prints and performance works and an archive of postal communique.
Tracked by pedometers, our steps, taken around our respective domestic locations are translated to a digital map where our 'avatars' walk carefully designed routes between UK and Canada. The title of our project references the first transatlantic wireless signal sent from Cornwall to Newfoundland in 1901. The message was simply the morse code signal for the letter ‘S’.
We have mapped trajectories to find a variety of half way points between our respective homes using combinations of celestial, nautical and gnomonic mapping techniques, embracing alternative cartographical practices and Google maps alternatives. These maps and charts form part of the 'S' archive along with a catalogue of objects, artefacts and letters sent between us.
The idea of walking long distances without leaving home is a physical expression of our current limitations as artists/ parents with ties to domestic space, and works with an ambivalence towards assumed identities generated around motherhood. The 'S' project explores the radical potential present in the circular/fugal and domestic walk (set against male, colonial adventuring narratives), feeding into dialogue about feminist walking and journeying practices. The project also critiques the idea of the 'globe trotting artist’ as marker of success, and challenges the attendant requirements of money and mobility, reaching out to another part of the world and sending a 'signal' to another artist with an isolated practice.
Writing about S Project
Living Maps Review; The 'S' Project from Fordham to Ucluelet and Ucluelet to Fordham. (The shortest distance is not a straight line). 2018
‘The Arts Territory Exchange and the S Project /alternative journeys’ - Gudrun Filipska. Paper and video presentation delivered at Sheffield Hallam University -The Artist's Journey # 3: Improfessional Practices Conference in association with the National Association for Fine Art Education, 2020.
‘OFF-SHORE’ written for Muck Space. 2020 ‘Afloat’ Edition.
The S Project, an outline of pottential - UBESSEY 2019.
Interview with Gabriella Warren-Smith.
Video lecture delivered at the Walkings New Movement Conference. Plymouth 2019.
'S Project' Chapter in Walking Bodies ED Helen Billinghurst, Claire Hind and Phil Smith. Triarchy Press 2020.
Carly Butler is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works on Vancouver Island in Ucluelet on the traditional territory of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation. Her practice reinterprets nautical knowledge around navigation and survival to reflect on longing, regret and nostalgia.
Gudrun Filipska is an artist and researcher of Welsh and polish descent who lives in the Fens Uk. Her work considers the cultural and literary associations of journeying often aiming to re-configure these narratives to include, feminist and 'other' itinerant practices – and offering counter positions to colonial and male-centric travel and walking cultures.