|DRIVEN BY CARS
Artist Films and Artist Talk
selected by Ricarda Vidal
FRIDAY, 27 JULY 2007, 6-9 pm
|click on image for larger view
Driven by Cars
7.00 – 8.15 pm
Driving can be the escape to freedom, but it can also mean the endless wait in the traffic jam, or the infuriating
search for a free parking space. Driving is about motion – fast or slow-motion – the horizon racing towards you or
stretching away towards infinity, the changing scenery floating by the side window. Driving and what you drive can
be a political statement; it can determine how other people see you or how you want to be seen by them. Driving
has spawned a whole new world of tarmac and concrete, car parks, flyovers and multilane expressways. It is now
so much part of our culture that it is difficult to imagine what life would be like without it.
The films selected for Driven by Cars all focus on the car and the way it changes our perception of nature, of
culture, of ourselves. They explore the exhilaration of speed and the enchantment of slow-motion, the crash (the
explosion!) and the aftermath of the accident. Some of them are serious, others are less so, some are critical,
others are celebratory - together they form a tableau of contemporary driving.
Driving Artists Talk: Joe Kerr and Andrew Cross
8.15 – 9.00 pm
The screening will be followed by a talk about driving, cars and culture, between the artist and curator Andrew
Cross and Joe Kerr, Professor at the Royal College of Art and qualified London bus-driver.
Andrew Cross has spent most of his life admiring trains, and various forms of road vehicle, and has explored
driving and transport in numerous artworks. Rather than in speed, Cross is interested in slow-motion and in the
geometries and formalities of industrial landscapes.
Joe Kerr is Head of Department of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art. He has published
widely on architecture and urbanism, roads and car culture. In 2004 he combined critical analysis with practical
research and realised a boyhood dream qualifying as bus-driver on the old Routemaster. He continues to drive
An English Journey (excerpts)
UK, 2004/2007, 8min
An English Journey is a feature length film shot from a camera mounted on the
passenger seat of an HGV travelling across England. Alternating between the
windscreen and the side window the camera shows a landscape of lush
greenery and grey tarmac, a landscape that flits by at high speed but at the
same time appears eerily unchanging and still. For “Driven” Cross has re-edited
the original material into a shorter more compact film with a beginning but an
open end suggesting the continuity of the road and the long-distance drive.
Courtesy of the artist. www.andrewcross.co.uk
UK, 2005, 4min
A ballet of electric cars in revolt against the gas-guzzling SUVs that senselessly
block our urban roads on the daily school-run. Set to music by The Phoenix
Foundation, this is a beautiful dreamlike film that imagines that driving can be
like flying, like a noiseless dance, once we manage to surmount our addiction to
the combustion engine.
Courtesy of Joyrider Films. www.joyriderfilms.co.uk
The Car is Fine
Greece/UK 1999, 15min
Set in rural England The Car is Fine explores the boredom and sameness of life
in the countryside. The car, traditional symbol of freedom and excitement, is
ridiculed. Far from fine, it is old and battered and immobile. Still it is eventually
revealed as the driving force of the film.
Courtesy of the artist.
Germany, 2004, 10min
_grau is a personal reflection on memories coming up during a car accident,
where past events emerge, fuse, erode and finally vanish ethereally. Various
real sources where distorted, filtered and fitted into a sculptural structure to
create not a plain abstract, but a very private snapshot of a whole life within its
last seconds. In 2005 it was awarded an honorary prize at the Kunstfilm Biennale
Courtesy of the artist. www.2minds.de
Artist: Nash Edgerton
Australia, 2005, 4mins
A satire of the traditional action thriller compressed to the most important
element: the high-speed car race towards death and destruction. The hero,
bound at hands and feet, is travelling in the boot of a car. Gradually he
manages to free himself, opens the boot and discovers that no one is driving.
Frantic passenger and battered car are hurtling through the Australian outback,
kept at high speed by a brick on the gas pedal. However, there is, of course, a
means to stop.
Courtesy of Bluetongue Films. www.bluetonguefilms.com
Action Painting: A Roadtrip
Artist: Ami Clarke
UK, 2006, 2min
Using low resolution filming the camera distorts the scene and creates
something else of its own making. Taken from a speeding car, the trees become
marks on a white background that are reminiscent of action paintings. The
psychedelic garage pop of the Rickets playing ‘Action Painting’ provides a
sound-track, indebted, in its own way, to the trip.
Courtesy of the artist. www.amiclarke.com
UK, 2005, 12min
“Penrose” is set in an empty multi-story car park, which has become a trap
without escape. It explores the oppressiveness of an urban environment that
has been built to suit the needs of the car rather than the human being. The
camera focuses on the horizontal and vertical lines of the car park to close down
the space around the film’s main character, who is trapped not only inside the
building but inside his own mind.
Courtesy of Maulin Patel and Fenris Films.
Car Culture (excerpts)
UK, 2001, 8min
“Car Culture” was recorded from a windscreen mounted rear facing camera.
Filmed between 70 and 80 mph in the fast lane of over 2000 miles of motorway
in the UK the film documents the attempts of other road users to persuade the
driver to give way. The film is accompanied by the ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Igor
Stravinsky. David Cotterrell has re-edited the original 60-minute film for Driven
Courtesy of the artist and Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art
C’était un rendezvous
France, 1976, 9min
On a Sunday in 1976 at 5.45 in the morning Claude Lelouch stuck a camera on
his car and raced from the Champs Elysées to Montmartre without stopping and,
if he could help it, without braking. It took him nine minutes. He arrived in time for
his rendezvous and was subsequently arrested.
A DVD of the film can be purchased at www.spiritlevelfilm.com
Japan/UK, 1999-2007, 5min
A white car, two drivers, two minds, two motors and a lot of smoke. Yasu Ichige is
obsessed with cars and speed but “Two Head” is not about racing – it is perhaps
not even about driving, if driving means moving. “Two Head” is about a very
special car Ichige made to explore not speed but frustration.
Courtesy of the artist.
For more information email Ricarda at firstname.lastname@example.org