“34 DAYS TO WASHINGTON” is about a human powered journey that covered 2046 miles from Springfield, Illinois to Washington D.C. I propose that the time has come to recognize the human powered act of riding a bicycle as an artistic gesture. The form is about movement and the measure of place. Slow movement and long distance travel situates a rider in an intimate relationship within the landscape. But this is not only about an escape into nature, – it is also about building a relationship to society as well. Road cycling depends on civil infrastructure, – safe roads, food, water sources, and towns.
I measured my speed (on a self supported touring bike) and it approximated that of horse and buggy in central Ohio Amish country, – 14mph. In 34 days, I retraced the inaugural train path of Abraham Lincoln averaging this speed. History and weather conditions contributed to my reading of place. Slow travel over vast distances of rural countryside at 19th century speeds had a direct relationship to my perception of people and environment. All beings are afforded equal treatment to the winds and the rain. Because of this, I couldn’t help but infer the direct relationship to this fact and the insights of Lincoln’s prose. As I moved through the environment, I was forced to rely on different methods of navigation, – cellphone, GPS, as well as paper maps. This had a direct influence on the way I saw my interior and exterior space yielding writing and painting that resulted in narrative as well as abstract forms. One system’s limitations would be picked up by the next. [see WTTW Video]
"34 Days to Washington: Taking Measure Across the American Landscape" is an extension of the Lincoln Project, a painting exhibition that appeared at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois in February 2009 and the Union League Club in Chicago in July 2009. The research project was begun in 2002 after meeting with Thomas Schwartz, the Illinois State Historian and viewing the Abraham Lincoln archives. [see Lincoln Museum Video]
The Lincoln Project, Taking Measure Across America is a process art project involving bicycling over 2000 miles from Springfield, Illinois to Washington D.C. following Lincoln's inaugural train route and recording the present day condition of the landscape, it is subtitled, "A Mile for Your Penny" and is also raising money by asking for a donation of a 'penny for a mile' to help fund Cancer research.
[A check can be made out to the ‘Susan G. Komen, for the cure" foundation and sent to: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Attn: Donor Services, PO Box 650309, Dallas, TX 7526-0309, 877.465.6636, email: firstname.lastname@example.org