Noortje Marres Log 2-3: During

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What’s on record

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One question that I am still unclear about it is how much of this place, the Frederiksplein, is actually captured by the records that the spiral drawing sunrise exercise eventually produces. On the one hand, the list of things that are in some sense “site-specific” and have influenced the course of the robot cart is quite long. To begin with, the intensity of the sunlight actually makes a difference. Esther brought a lightmeter and it is clear that an equatorial or winter sunrise would produce very different levels of light intensity, and thus a different pattern. Then there are also the particularities of the robot cart’s immediate surroundings: the curvature of the square’s surface, the shade provided by buildings and trees, us walking around blocking the sunlight: all this influences the pattern. (At one point, I stand in front of the sun, to slow the cart down, so as to get it to deposit another dot of sand on the middle sheet…not quite willing, to embrace the ‘less is more’ effect.)  And I am also glad to notice that the wheels of the cart have left some traces of street grime on the paper. (Emilie Gomart would say, the more bias built into this experimental record, the better.) Finally, what I had not counted on at all: two dogs, one pigeon, and one man rolling a cigarette, walk straight through the sand pattern, with the last one leaving two big imprints, or rather smutches, doing quite some damage. I had not really thought  about  this beforehand – though, again, I am quite sure Esther had: the fragility of the pattern. This is perhaps clearest at the moment when the municipal cleaning services show up. (Of course, its the first Monday of the month.) The men and the cars they drive are equipped with brushes, which take on quite an ominous aspect in the face of the thin lines of sand on the ground. However we relax when we realize that one of the cleaning trucks is driving in circles around us and the sand spiral in-the-making. But it is to say that a lot of the action of this morning stems from things that could have left their trace in this drawing, but eventually don’t: Calanne’s dog, the carts of the cleaning services.

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