For his project at ArtPace, Lordy Rodriguez continues his exploration of map-making as a personal interpretation. Incorporating video and sculptural elements for the first time, Rodriguez has created new work based on the geography of Texas and San Antonio’s central location within the Lone Star State.
Rodriguez’s installation is comprised of four hand-drawn maps placed atop irregularly shaped platforms and four video monitors. Suggesting an intersection of roads or a dioramic relief map, the installation forms an ordinal axis. The drawings and the videos refer to four road trips that the artist took during his residency. Traveling north, south, east, and west from San Antonio, Rodriguez documented the moving asphalt as seen from beneath the car. The resulting images are barely recognizable as a road, appearing as a fast-paced blur of grey and black. To indicate the artist’s exact location in relation to the video, a small light marks a specific point on each map. However, like his previous work, Rodriguez provides only cursory clues to any actual place. The maps, reconfigured as imaginary geographies, collapse local and foreign, real and invented locations. These cartographies are no more precise than the moving images of unidentifiable highway.
Introducing an element of time into this new work, Rodriguez complicates the viewer’s attempts to reconcile travel, origin, and destination. The slow movement of the “you are here” light can only be witnessed through patience or repeat visits, and the rapidly moving abstract landscapes belie a clear narrative. The question, “where are you?” is constantly at play.
Rodriguez has consistently used strategies of misrecognition and misdirection to challenge our assumptions of the meaning of place. Viewed within the context of American car culture, made quite literal in this new work, Rodriguez reflects on the links between memory, perception, and cartography. Commenting on the nature of his work, Rodriguez has said, “The question of reality and the different interpretations of what is ‘real’ are contained in the map.”