Car Dreams 1994 Saturn SL1, projection, 14’6” x 5’8” x 4’5”, 2012

Northern Spark Festival, June 9 - 10, 2012

Forecast Public Art, Artist Interview

Car Dreams explores our car-based economy and culture and its effect on our environment and communities. Our largest exposure to our community is often as daily commuters in cars on roadways.  As a private space in public, cars create a simultaneous experience of context and displacement. A car’s occupants are observers rather than participants in their landscape, very much like a person viewing a video projection, and the car itself masks their humanity to those on the outside. As a global community we seem to be traveling through a world we are separate from, aware of how damaging our ride is, yet unable or unwilling to step out and become involved in change. This dialogue becomes even more relevant with cars being targets and weapons for terrorism, fueled by war and environmental destruction.

Car Dreams was an overnight installation of a 2004 Saturn SL1 on a public street in downtown Minneapolis incorporating video projection of the effects of oil on our lives and landscapes. Synchronized video was captured from multiple cameras simultaneously, and consisted of both static images of household interiors as well as moving images of landscape. Seven miles of video was captured from a car driving through areas threatened with Frac Sand Mining in South-Western Wisconsin and interior images were from the household of an Iraq war veteran and her family.

Car Dreams reverses familiar visual experience. Interior walls become exterior surfaces and surrounding space is turned inside out capturing the full horizon of the landscape as an image confined within the car. The visual experience of the roadway landscape passing by on the window surfaces creates an unnerving effect of travel within a parked car and the random movements of people within household interiors create a sense of exposure, emphasizing a private space within a public setting.

Car Dreams explores the car as an intermediary between realms; spaces of personal and private experience become accessible and public, remote lives become immediate and the connection between our personal dependence on oil and our detachment from its global and environmental effect becomes more visible.

This project was funded by Forecast Public Art with additional support from the McKnight Foundation. Equipment support was received from St. Paul Neighborhood Network.


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