Teri Rueb and Alan Price
Grimpant was created as a collaboration between Alan Price and Teri Rueb. The work was initially commissioned by La Panacée Centre de Culture Contemporaine (Montpellier, France) in January 2012 and was developed over the course of a year with a three-part residency during the months of June 2012, and January and June 2013.
Inspired by the writings of French botanist Francis Hallé and the 17th and 18th century maps produced by L'Ecole des Ponts et Chausses, Grimpant seeks to reveal the rhythms of Montpellier as an urban ecology of human and botanical entanglements.
The project connects the spaces of La Panacée with the spaces of the city.
In the gallery the rhythms of Montpellier become visible in a dynamic projection that combines human movement with the movement of botanical, hydrological and transportation networks. The image, a data driven animation, incorporates contemporary and historic data, maps and archival records.
In the city, an accompanying mobile app allows participants to track their movement and contribute these tracings to the overall projection. They may also use the app to listen to and submit recordings about significant botanical encounters they may have as they explore the city with mobile app in hand; these encounters are represented in the projection at the gallery as seeds, from which grow vines that sprout and reveal sound when floating magnifying lenses pass over them.
The project invites participants to engage Montpellier's long and continued history as a city of unique cultural and biological diversity.
The gallery installation consists of a high resolution panoramic projection, 35 feet wide by 7 feet high, displaying real time rendering of the origins and growth of the city, incorporating datasets of city plantings and traffic flow, along with tracings of the movement of participants throughout the city using a mobile app designed by the artists. The dynamic map repeats its cycle every twenty-four minutes, representing a 24-hour day in which the contemporary movement of inhabitants of the city takes course. This twenty-four minute cycle simultaneously plays out a timeline of over 500 years, as the oldest recorded tree plantings evolve alongside agricultural change and developent of transportation and technology.
A camera mounted overhead in the gallery tracks the movement of visitors in the space, which is translated into movement of the circles in the animation, each acting as magnifying lenses to reveal detail and alternate visual interpretations of the motion paths and landscape beneath. Visitors to the installation can also use their own smartphone to connect to a browser-based control interface for direct manipulation of the moving lenses.