Tracking - a new project

Kudu, Namibia, by Diego Ferrari

'Tracking' is a new project about learning to track animals, and more broadly about becoming a Trails guide - someone who takes people on guided nature walks in the African bush. 

         Tracking used to be employed to hunt animals. These days it is a pursuit in its own right, one which can reveal much about the lives of animals - their habits, desires, fears, whether they are healthy or injured. It is a detective game where a process of elimination is often required. Tracking is hard, particularly for people like me who struggle to process shapes, or visual information of any kind. Often you have to look beyond the shapes on the ground, and search for other clues to fathom the animal's identity and intent, such as the time of day, who it is accompanied or pursued by, the terrain or vegetation, and the presence of dung. 

         As a Trails guide you need to know how to track animals so that you can find them for your guests, and so that you don't encounter them in a way that could present danger. There is an urgency to it, but also the desultory pleasure of spying - we can know an animal by its shadow, by these imprints of its bodily reality.

       The texts appear in the tracking project page in randomised order. You are invited to click through to the next panel, but these discrete texts will not appear in any particular order, or the same order twice, and do not form a linear narrative. This is a reflection of the reality of tracking animals in Africa - we are looking for a pattern, for a trail of cause and effect we can follow and make sense of, but more often the signs disintegrate or veer in unexpected directions, and we are left with a fragmentary story whose meaning we must piece together.