Artists travel the country asking, ‘What is Progress?’

Oct 5, 2015

Emily Putoff and Elena Sniezek stand next to the screen showing short films on how people defined 'progress'.

What is progress?

It’s an open-ended concept that depends entirely on who you ask.

After the financial crash of 2008, Emily Puthoff was moved to travel the country asking American’s, ‘How do you define progress?’

She and Elena Sniezek set out from their home in the Hudson Valley, joining arts festivals across the country to discuss how people in each community viewed the idea of progress. What it was, what had been achieved, and what their hopes were for the future.

To help facilitate the conversation, they mounted a TV screen to the side of their trailer, to screen short films inspired by different interpretations of progress from artists around the world.

Most of the time, art galleries and community fairs will publicize the trailers presence and purpose, but it’s up to Sniezek’s to engage strangers in conversation about their idea of progress.

She says the responses can vary from topics like stronger community to personal goals for inner peace.

Discussions of progress can be one on one or in groups and all are recorded.

Puthoff and Sniezek plan to take snippets of their interviews and turn them into a book of American Progression in the 21st Century.

The Wayfinding Series trailer is done for the season, but look for it again at art festivals and community gatherings across the country in the spring.