Traveling Salesman

Esther Hovers

2018 - Ongoing

New York City, New York, United States

This work is based on the simple idea of a narrative about a walk. The story is about a traveling salesman. This title is taken from a mathematical problem called ‘The Traveling Salesman Problem’. This problem asks the following question:

‘What is the shortest route between several places in which you visit each place only once and return to where you started?’

We might call it a mathematical problem about movement. Contrary to the simplicity of the question, this is in fact, a notoriously difficult problem to solve. The more places one has to visit, the harder it becomes to predict the shortest route. As of yet, there is no algorithm that can predict a completely optimal solution to this problem.

I follow the protagonist of my story who has the difficult task of solving a Traveling Salesman Problem in Manhattan; walking to a number of different places. In an age where there is a pervasive need for everything to be controlled and quantified, I use street photography as a metaphor for the unpredictable. My aim is to use a poetic approach, emphasising the tension between the predictability of the route and the unpredictability of the city itself. Ask yourself; is a routed walk ever the same on two different days? In this work I want to stress the relationship between mathematics and poetry.

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  • Traveling Salesman, (Manhattan Destinations), 2019
    35,6 x 45,7 cm / 14 x 18 in.
    Screen Print on Gummed Envelopes.

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  • Traveling Salesman,
    At Prospects & Concepts, Art Rotterdam, NL

  • Traveling Salesman,
    At Prospects & Concepts, Art Rotterdam, NL

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