Mike Iacovone: Drawing as Record

To reference my practice of drawing, I'd need to start with my understanding of what drawing is.  I see drawing as a record.  Including and beyond a record of what something looks like, or the representation of something.  A drawing is also a record of an event, or the mark made by an action.  A drawing is a reference, and not confused with the actual thing it represents.  Like listening to a vinyl record is understood as a recording of musicians, and not confused with a live performance.  A drawing is a reference, or a vehicle to get us to consider the subject of reference.  

So, that being said, when I show my work, I'm actually showing a record of my work.  To explain that further I need to first explain my process and ideas.  I make work that's about moving through space, and experiencing spaces based on systems.  For example, I'll decide on a topic I find interesting, like the US/Canadian Border, or the Mason Dixon Line, or the Berlin Wall and I'll study the topic and look at maps.  From there I'll devise a system to experience the space that my topic occupies.  The system will be a rigid set of rules used to both move through the space, and document the journey without making aesthetic decisions along the way.  

To give a solid example, I decided to follow the Mississippi River from beginning to end.  In studying maps, I found that there were 125 bridges that cross the river from a wooden foot bridge the spans a small stream flowing out of Lake Itasca in Northern Minnesota to the expansive six lane Crescent City Connection Bridge just south of New Orleans.  I also found that the Mississippi River is a border between states for the majority of its 2300 miles.  So I made a set of rules to create a drawing that traces the Mississippi River from end to end as closely as I could while also staying in public space.  I also decided that I would cross each bridge to create a sewing-like in-and-out line.  Since crossing the bridges would be as close as I could get to actually crossing the line the river makes, I chose to shoot video of each bridge crossing, and edit all 125 videos together to make one video documenting the bridge crossings.  The physical representation of this work was a 24 foot long map documenting the river, all the bridges, and the entire route I drove for seven days to trace the route.  Finally I decided that I would take on the same job that the river has, and I took water from the beginning of the river in Minnesota, and delivered it to the Gulf of Mexico.  My drawing is a record of a GPS drawn line tracing the Mississippi River.

To give another example, I created a video in the Arctic Circle called Arctic Line Drawing.  In the Arctic most of the islands are international territory, so there are no borders.  There are no fences, no buildings, and very few landmarks to delineate space.  In the summer the sun doesn't set, so it's very difficult to gain baring on which direction you're looking in.   The only constant is the horizon, it's the only tangible line to trace.  In this video I trace the horizon with my video camera in the first motion.  All of the other side to side motions are an attempt to trace my own drawing path across the horizon as closely as possible.  The result is a layered video as a record of the horizon drawings and my drawings. 

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/47125546" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href="https://vimeo.com/47125546">the beginning and end of the mississippi river</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user2748860">Michael Dax Iacovone</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/101959433" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href="https://vimeo.com/101959433">Arctic Line Drawing</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user2748860">Michael Dax Iacovone</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>