Summer Painting Biathlon

Painting Biathlon is a visual and performance art project combining cross-country skiing and painting. The project was launched in January, 2015, during Marina Mangubi's residency at the Banff Centre's Leighton Colony. As the title implies, Painting Biathlon references modern biathlon, a winter sport with roots in military exercises and World War II partisan warfare, in which cross-country skiing is paired with rifle shooting. Analogously to a shooting range in real biathlon, the artist sets up painting stations along a cross-country ski course, but instead of aiming a rifle and shooting at a target, she makes quick paintings or digital drawings, interspersed with sprints on cross-country skis. Absent the rifle, the paradigm of combining exercise kinetics of an endurance sport with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills applies equally to Painting Biathlon and the sport from which it is derived.

Although the snow skiing version of modern biathlon is the only one included in the Olympics, the International Biathlon Union recognizes roller skiing, combined with marksmanship, as Summer Biathlon, for off-season training and for racing. In spring, 2016, during the residency at the Joshua Tree National Park, Marina Mangubi performed Summer Painting Biathlon, roller skiing with stops to create digital drawings and animations. The drawings depict dying Joshua trees, as they bow to the ground under the weight of spent blossoms—their lifecycle undermined by climate change.
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