Appa walking consists of a series of three works: a set of graphite drawings, a hand- drawn animation film, and a lithographically printed artist book. All three works originate from the same source material, a video of my father walking that I recorded through facetime. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns in place, my father couldn’t leave his house. For six months, my father would walk in a cyclical figure eight everyday, clocking up to ten thousand steps a day. Between 2020 and 2022, I kept going back to this material, reworking it in different forms.
The hand drawn animation film Appa walking was made through the process of rotoscoping and is shown as a life size projection. In this grayscale film, my father walks alone in an endless loop, accompanied by the rhythmic sound of a metronome that syncs to his footsteps. We see him from the back, his shoulders slightly hunched with age, his legs a little bowed. He sinks into every step he takes. Washes of graphite move within and out of the pencil marks outlining his body. Even as he tirelessly walks, his hands swaying like a pendulum, the figure seemingly remains in place. The film plays as a perfect loop, with no beginning or end.
The book Appa walking is a thin, light object you can hold in your hand. The image is printed in grayscale using black lithographic ink on white paper. My father’s figure is the size of my palm. The book begins with an image of my father from the back, standing with his feet together, his arms at his side. As I read the book, my father takes two steps and stops. He finishes at the same position he started, with his feet together, and his arms at his side. In the last page, his figure is missing. What remains is the background grain, traces of the printing plate and paper. The book was printed through the process of photolithography and is accordion bound.
The drawings Appa Walking consists of eleven graphite drawings I made on tracing paper while rotoscoping. They are stacked on top of each other, the impressions overlapped and visible all at once. My father’s figure is composed of a fine graphite outline and washes of graphite in a range of tones. The weight of these materials causes the thin paper to crease around the figure, pulling on all sides, pulling the surface towards it. His figure anchors this work.
As installed at The Visual Arts Center, Austin, 2020 and
The Visual Arts Center, Austin, 2022
Installation images by Alex Boeschenstein
1. APPA WALKING, 2020. Hand-drawn animated film with sound. 56 sec (loop)
2. APPA WALKING, 2021-22, Book of seven lithographs on paper. 9.5 x 6.35 x 0.25 inches, Edition 8
3. APPA WALKING DRAWINGS, 2020. Eleven drawings, graphite and water on paper. 13.75 x 12 inches