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January 7th 2004 - An interview with Jon Paludan
[January 7th 2004]

Virtual walk at Amager Faelled
An interview with Jon Paludan

The area of Amager Faelled lies quite close to the centre of the city of Copenhagen. It is a somewhat desolate area consisting partly of grassy meadows and labyrinthic shrubbery. Jon Paludan is the initiator of the internet project Virtuel vandring paa Amager Faelled, which translates to Virtual walk at Amager Faelled. This project gives the user the possibility to explore a large number of artworks distributed in a virtual version of Amager Faelled. The interface that makes it all possible is the Quicktime VR tool, which has been used to create 360 degree panoramic views of a number of localities in the area. These panoramas are linked so the user can navigate thrugh the area. All in all 20 artists have contributed with artworks, all of which can be found in the virtual version of Amager Faelled. Thomas Petersen had a talk with Jon about the project.

Click here to go to the project page: Note: while some of the content is in Danish, this is not the case for most of the projects.

Participating artists:
Lone Bank, Thomas Bech Frandsen, Tarje Gullaksen, Anette Hoejlund, Eske Kath & Jesper Just, Tommy Làadal, Marie Markman, Camilla Noergaard, Petri Raappana, Lars Rank, Nikolaj Recke, Nis Roemer, Marie Roemer Westh, Marika Seidler & Seimi Noerregaard, Mads Steen, Lisa Stroembeck and Morten Soekilde.
The interface is made by Jon Paludan.

You can mail Jon Paludan at:

I'd like to start off by asking you how this project came about. What was the motivation for creating a virtual walk through the area Amager Faelled? What triggered your interest for this particular area?
Amager Faelled is close to where I live, and I walked a lot out there last year. Actually it was this fantastic sensational green grass circle that made me want to work there. But not alone. Since I was interested in walking, the grass circle would not be enough and this way of working with others came up, when I talked to some of the participants and heard what part of the area they liked. I like the possible game references to a documentation of a lot of peoples everyday walk out of the city, still close to the centre. Games without rules or specific controlled goals.  

only I knewtornado
Left: Anette Hoejlund Only I Knew. Right: Eske Kath & Jesper Just UT (tornado).

Left: Marie Markman Valmuer. Right: Tarje Gullaksen Bogfinker.

I understand you are interested in walking as an artistic process for example in its situationist form. It seems the informational space is a perfect platform for this type of wandering. It is also interesting to connect information-navigation with the metaphor of movement through physical space. Can you tell me about your particular intentions for using this strategy and what type of viewing experience it can give the audience?  
I guess it's the usual arty strategy to touch a border without getting totally out on a limb. I have been looking for ways to document or use this doing almost nothing that a walk can be, as the situationists walked and sometimes took a cab between points, without any target. Then this is like clicking at a map getting inside it, perhaps getting lost in there. Most users might experience it as a labyrinth, because there's a lot to look at. One viewer talked about how it reminded him a bit of Wolfenstein, the ten year old game in the labyrinthian castle. In Virtuel vandring paa Amager Faelled, there's few hotspots to click, so it's mainly your own confusion that can get you lost.  

Meanwhile back in the jungle40 aar på Amager Faelled
Left: Camilla Noergaard Meanwhile back in the jungle. Right: Lars Rank 40 aar paa Amager Faelled.

A lot of the participating artists predominantly work with non-digital art forms, that is to say they also have an art practice off-line. Do you have any thoughts on the process of working with the internet as an art space compared to other art spaces?
Its rewarding to use the given obstructions when you don't know how to do this or that and got to do things different than usual. When you work with a camera or whatever you tend to get good at it, working with computers and gadgets for the net or off-line, you can often use a fresh program or gadget when that happens, if you want to. The process of historicizing is perhaps a bit more open on the net. And then the net, and interaction with screens, gives a different sense of joy - I can't help thinking of how computer games also gives a special sense of happiness.  

upeliminating landscape
Left: Tommy Làadal Up. Right: Thomas Bech Frandsen Eliminating Landscape.

I think your answers point to the strengths of the computer and internet as art media, because these technologies have many different roles and functions other than being art machines. You especially mention computer games as an overlapping field, which I agree infuses the work with a sense of playfulness and joy. Tell me more about your influences and inspirations in this direction.  
Games for me are a lot about movement and simple interaction with the screen. When something is moved things usually start to happen. Games like The Myst series and Deer Hunter give an experience of nature on the screen, seen through panoramas. I have played them a bit to see how they worked. Then of course there are the obvious classical references, the road movie and the Odyssey or Ulysses.

William Gibson has written about gaming twenty years ago. I think it was in Neuromancer, where this guy played pinball or what it was and just kept on, nothing could stop him. I guess it was some kind of feeling of joy described there. That's how I understand interaction with screens, some times you just can't stop, it just goes on and on.  

Left: Lone Bank Headless. Right: Mads Steen Baenken.

The different projects seem to add new layers of meaning to the localities they are situated in. To me there's an obvious possibility of a feedback to the perception of the specific places - I know Amager Faelled won't be the same, the next time I visit. Did the process of working with the place also change your view of Amager Faelled?  
In previous projects I have experienced landscapes as computer games after I filmed them. It's not so bad this time...

sleep in treesfireflies
Left: Marika Seidler & Seimi Noerregaard Sleep in Trees. Right: Nikolaj Recke Human Fireflies.

Can you tell me something about which direction you will be going in after this project?  
I try to raise money to work with mainstream mobility together with Nis Roemer, who's interested in what could be called radical geography. Fancy gadgets go screen skating to save the world. 

Left: Petri Raappana Sex it up. Right: Marie Roemer Westh Oersted Free Space.

Are there any links to internet artworks you can recommend?  
I'm not much of an art link master, but I just got this link, which seems to be of some relevancy for my thing with mobility and walking, sings streets in to existence. And this summer of psychogeography at This last link to The Center for Land Use Interpretation its an American site for artists' work with landscapes.

Left: Nis Roemer Amager Faelled Wiki. Right: Lisa Strömbeck Peepers. 


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