an exercise to assess altitude in the Himalayas using phenomena

custom-bound artist's book
unique edition, with original drawings and texts

In 2015, I traveled into the Indian Himalayas with my long-time collaborator, mathematician and data scientist Luke Wolcott, for my larger research project Walking to Outer Space – a pursuit on foot of the upper limit of the critical zone. Along the way, we conducted an experiment we called An Exercise to Assess Altitude in the Himalayas Using Phenomena.

The main intention of this action was to attempt to understand where we were on Earth through situatedness alone, and to see how this approach might come into productive conflict with – or even come to be more reliable than – the supposed objectivities provided by our maps and devices. It was a way to question our passive relationship to the tools of orientation that we usually take for granted – through active, embodied, phenomenon-based orientation. This experiment resulted in a book.

Enclosed in this custom-bound artist book is a collection of original drawings, writing, and chicken-scratch arithmetic, documenting an ascent up 1000 vertical meters of a Himalayan mountain slope. This action was performed as an experiment both to measure changing altitude at 100-meter intervals based on the shifting boiling point of a pot of water, and to examine the mind under the influence of increasing altitude.