Drawing Fields


by Outpost Office, Ashley Bigham, and Erik Herrmann



LOCATION: ILLINOIS, USA

Drawing Fields is a growing collection of temporary drawing installations utilizing GPS-controlled robots to delineate site-specific, building-scale drawings. The patterns use water-soluble low-VOC field marking paint typically used for sports fields. Installation times range from a few hours to a few days; within weeks, the installations are gone, fading with only sunlight, rain, and time.


1. Drawing Fields II: Opening Night - A physically-distanced audience enjoys the opening night performance at Drawing Fields II | Outpost Office 


Drawing Fields patterns employ architectural tactics including measurement, marking, and scoring to superimpose complex patterns across existing sites, ranging from rural softscapes to urban hardscapes. The design of each drawing includes not only the arrangement of marks but the sequence of their installation, enlivening the act of image-making as a chronotopic performance. Like musical scores, public performances further enliven the enormous notations of Drawing Fields.


2. Drawing Fields II: Sequence - Drawing Fields II explored tactics of measurement, calibration, and control in the landscape. As most of the audience was distributed online, the pattern is embedded with a recursive zoom effect activated as the drone changes elevation during streamed performances | Outpost Office


Each installation is a spatial prototype, overlaying possible futures. A recent drawing located on the grounds of an art residency, for example, delineated a series of temporary performance spaces for interpretative dance and poetry readings, radically altering a small clearing several times in the short span of a few weeks. The temporary installation is not a final design for the landscape, but a prototype, a graphic testbed for experimentation as the organization considers the long-term future for their communal space.


3. Drawing Fields II: Ariel View - The soft boundary of Drawing Fields II reveals the extents of unimpeded GPS signal - areas of unobstructed surveillance on the campus |Outpost Office



Designed with its obsolescence in mind, Drawing Fields challenges tenets of permanence, localization, and accumulation in architecture. With its use of autonomous robotics, the project also generates key questions about labor and performance. By enlivening and scaling up the act of image-making, Drawing Fields superimposes drawing as both process and product, action and artifact. The resulting drawings are speculative and tangible, virtual and material, autonomous and engaged.