Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror                                    
Just keep going                                            
No feeling is final.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Notes, screenshots, and ideas fermenting; my desktop has always been a place where textual fragments socialize, increasingly so, these days. While being indecisive about how to begin writing this text -maybe because suddenly the work and the gallery text collide- I discover a screenshot on my desktop. I snatched it while watching the film Jojo Rabbit. It contains a stanza from a poem by Rilke that feels timely and relevant. I type it down. The intro has just written itself, and now I can start talking about what you just saw or what you are about to see.

Hyperflâneur in this video version appropriates Google maps screenshots I collected between 2017 and 2019 while working on Hyperflâneur, the hefty, 3-tome bookwork. Both versions track a personal journey that takes the form of a digital dérive through my smartphone. Drifting in every country, dependent area, and all the disputed territories of the Blue Marble, I captured around 3,500 screenshots, unknowingly caught by the 360˚cameras of Google Maps cars or knowingly uploaded by google users. This project never had the intention to exhaust the world, to become a detailed map that precedes the territory;

it rather sought to position the subject in the world and capture the multifaceted nature of now. For this subject, speaking to you here, experiencing what a random street -and in extent everyday life- might look like across the world has been a way of understanding their privilege, witnessing environmental destruction, and tracing the routes of colonialism, while also being moved by sublime nature. The distortion present in these images -fragments of hands, feet blending with the background, disjoined bodies, and landscapes- soon lost its novelty and began acting as a metaphor for how we experience reality.

During the long hours of vigilant hyperflâneuring, emotions and moods shifted constantly. Sometimes my disbelief while facing the screen related to excitement and surprise, but more often to sadness and disappointment. Not being immune to the tediousness of the task, I would often find myself stuck in places that felt all too familiar to experience with fresh eyes. While editing the video, I realized that transposing the project to a new medium allowed me to address these mood shifts through the audio channel. I began constructing a soundtrack by sourcing unfinished sound projects I dug out of long-forgotten subfolders of folders. I also ‘borrowed’ music from finished sound pieces Sextilis and Reveries for Trees and Shrubs and used tracks from the LP Posh Taro (2014) and the bookwork/CD album What is to be Sung? Answers to the Burning Question by Charly Barely (2012).




Initially, Massive Hangover was playing on repeat over the video credits. In the end, I decided to single it out and present it on its own as a conclusion since I feel that we have finally reached that awkward, painful awakening. How will this hangover be remedied -what needs to get rehydrated and how- remains to be seen.

Hyperflâneur 


written by Natalie Yiaxi on the occasion of participating in the online show Together Apart/ Going New Places (2020) curated by Marina Hadjilouka 





©natalie yiaxi 2011-2022 all rights reserved