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Choreography of Everyday Movement
by Teri Rueb (initiator, concept author),
In Choi (java applet and wireless integration)

Teri Rueb
50 Porter Road
Cambridge, MA 02140


The Choreography of Everyday Movement envisions, as a topographical mapping, the culturally inscribed nature of our everyday travels. Using GPS, the project seeks to render visible our movement through the built environment of the city, revealing socio-political and poetic patterns of traffic flow through the urban body. In these drawings we see images as often as we detect the privileging of one route over another, the concentration of movement through particular neighborhoods, and the repetition and variation of a traveler’s movement over time.


GPS trackings of dancer moving through Baltimore, MD.
Copyright © Teri Rueb

The Choreography of Everyday Movement takes process and performance as the subject of the work. As a live element, participants are tracked with global positioning satellite receivers as they move about the city. The trail of each participant’s movement is transposed into visual terms as a dynamic drawing generated in real-time wirelessly over the Internet. Drawings are then archived and presented for viewing in a three-dimensional format. Each journey is printed on acetate, registered against prior journeys, and sandwiched between stacked 1/2” plates of glass. The stacks of glass grow taller over time with the addition of subsequent drawings, thus creating an expanding “z-axis” through which the viewer can observe changes in the movement of each traveler over time. The performance of the piece requires no special expertise. Dancer/pedestrian, performer/spectator, artist/non-artist each is equally capable of participating in the making of the work.


Real-time GPS trackings of dancer/driver
moving through Baltimore, MD

Copyright © Teri Rueb
  Geographical reference data, present as longitude/latitude coordinates in the real-time drawing, is removed in the final image so as to foreground the expressive character of the line - a line upon which we project our own interpretations. This one looks like a deer, that one like a figure with arms stretching upward, legs intertwined. The global positioning satellite receiver, designed for precise measurement and tracking, is subverted and re-cast as a kind of giant pencil or tool for making chance compositions. Marks that reveal the design of transportation grids become compositions that engage the imagination like clouds in the sky.

The relationship of performer/spectator is re-configured in the real-time generation of drawings over the Internet. The performer is only visible as an ant-like dot crawling across the screen.

Movement and physical presence are reduced to the most basic abstraction, yet we are amused by what appears as a dynamic animation punctuated with moments of unintended physical humor as the little dot stops at a traffic light or crosses over the path of another performer.

The performer is insulated from the gaze of the spectator both in the moment of performance and in the recorded image of that performance. The viewer never sees the body of the performer, nor vice versa, creating a shifted and mediated economy of the gaze that stands in contrast to traditional live performance.

Java applet and wireless integration developed by In H. Choi [2002 Graduate, UMBC, Double Major: Computer Science and Imaging and Digital Arts]

This project was originally developed in the context of a group project funded by the Rosenberg Gallery at Goucher College curated by Laura Burns. The project involved an 18-month dialogue between myself and Denise Tassin (painter), in collaboration with Goucher faculty and students: Professor Amanda Thom Woodson (choreographer), Andrew Cole (composer) and Kirsten Maurer (dancer). It was presented with the participation of dancers from Amanda Thom Woodson’s senior dance studio, Fall 2001.

It was presented in the project gallery of SIGGRAPH 2002, San Antonio, US.


Artist Biography

Teri Rueb
Teri Rueb’s work explores the relationship between sound, space and human movement to explore issues of architecture and urbanism, landscape and the body and sonic and acoustic space. She has used locative media in her work since 1996 when she created one of the first GPS-based interactive media works, Trace, at Banff Center for the Arts (premiered in 1999). Since then she has continued to create large-scale cellular and GPS-based works including Open City (1999), The Choreography of Everyday Movement (2001 – 2003), Drift (2004), and Itinerant (2005).

The space of frequencies and wavelengths including light and sound as used in radio, satellite, and wireless data transmission is known as Hertzian space. A fluid space of overlapping fields and frequencies, Hertzian space is characterized by connectedness as opposed to the discrete boundaries and territories suggested by physical architecture and visually-oriented constructions of space. Sound, too, has this quality, suggesting a space of permeable boundaries and continuous flows.

In her work Hertzian space and sound become both medium and metaphor for imagining alternative constructions of space, movement, and subjectivity. Like a sonic snow, each work temporarily transforms the physical and social landscape, offering a space for an alternative kind of movement, interaction, play and discovery.

She is interested in engaging interactions that privilege non-goal oriented and less self-conscious behaviors that slip seamlessly into the spaces of the everyday. She specifically uses sound, rather than visual media, in order to allow people to be firstly immersed in their immediate landscape, allowing a relationship to form between body, sound, and space. Teri is also inspired by literature including peripatetic traditions, the contrast between oral and literate modes, and early 20th century modern literature employing stream-of-consciousness and internal monologue. She is currently exploring the intimate sound delivered in headphones as a means of blurring boundaries between sound, space and subjectivity through an internal monologue that unfolds as participants walk through Boston Common and surrounding neighborhoods.

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