Traces of Fire
A project in co-operation with Ed Lear
Everything starts with a pub-tour. Couple of drinks, couple of cigarettes, off to the next bar. Couple of drinks, couple of cigarettes. Then – moving on. Next day, same thing. Couple of drinks with a couple of cigarettes in a couple of pubs. In each of the pubs we leave behind a nice little lighter. Each one of these lighters equipped with a nice little transmitter and its own transmission id. And above the roofs antennas rise. The next week we spend roaming the urban habitat, tracking the lighters, tracing the fire; logging its every move.
Invited by ev+a we embarked on the last great adventure in wildlife biotelemetry: Urban Habitat Research. The plan was to loose things and see if they move. Equipped with ten lighters we set off on a pub-tour through the city centre. Starting in the south at the Wolf Tone, working our way through the metropolitan area towards Portley’s. In each of the pubs we left behind one little lighter, in the Wolf Tone even two.
The next day we returned to seek what we had lost, divided the town centre into two zones north and south of Roches Street and patrolled our beats for the next seven days. Four lighters disappeared without a trace. One remained where we had left it. The other five moved throughout town, but not without company. If lighters moved into range our frequency scanners alert us. Their signals were logged, positional data collected, a photo was taken. Fed into habitat research software the times and locations were analysed; patterns emerged; home-ranges in the urban habitat.
Movements are isolated in the city. Some its corners are shared, temporal cycles resemble daily routine. Habits overlap, delimited by rivers, bounded by streets. Over the time-period, movement patterns emerge. The one adopting lighter number six enjoys a drink. Every night at the same pub, but not for very long. And not moving far. Lighter number eight also sticks to its hood – but does not return to Nancy Blake’s. Turning up weekdays on the corner of O’Connell and Shannon, flying north in the evenings, settling down opposite Corn Market Row. Crystal clear on the corner. A creature of habit.