CAR SHOW: art in trunks, back seats, and truck beds | Week 5 of 12
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Maggie & Daniel Schaefer
Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett
The fifth theme of this year’s Hibernation Project took place in the semi-public, semi-private space of the automobile. In an attempt to subvert the car-centric culture of Alberta and utilize the ‘non-space’ offered by the interior of an automobile, CAR SHOW invited artists to install artworks in their own cars, or the cars of their friends. These interiors became safe, socially distanced, micro-galleries to view from the outside.
Gary McMillan brought a family of aliens to the CAR SHOW, carpooling in the back seats and trunk of his vehicle. Hand-built and painted, these extraterrestrial passengers will be returning to various venues across the province for a touring show through Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Our slow rally of vehicles travelled to a series of parking lots around Calgary, beginning at the all-but-abandoned Sears parking lot at North Hill Mall. Incidentally, this parking lot holds importance to many in the arts community, as it used to be the only free parking near Alberta College of Art + Design (now Alberta University of the Arts) before they started patrolling, handing out tickets, and towing students’ cars.
North Hill was Calgary’s first shopping mall, opening to great fanfare in 1958. The complex has subsequently moved through many iterations, renovations, and depressions over the decades, even before Sears national closure, leading to a relative state of disuse that allowed us to park for almost two hours without notice from management.
Maggie Schaefer designed Fridge on Wheels, using oversized, hand-cut fridge magnets on the white, steel outside of her cargo van. Piloted in collaboration with her partner, Daniel Schaefer, this interactive vehicle became the site for poetry and prose. Maggie even made a watermelon outfit to ride inside the fridge.
Our second stop of the afternoon was at the Walmart Supercentre at Westbrook Mall. Located adjacent to an active transit station and a public library, we found a corner of the busy lot to park together. While we anticipated some weird looks or perhaps intervention from Security, other parking lot users barely batted an eyelid. This is a place where much stranger things occur on the daily.
Keith Rodger’s performative food intervention fit into the context of a Walmart parking lot, perhaps too well. Using familiar grocery store items, Keith invited participants to assemble sandwiches, bowls of cereal, and other edible accoutrements from a distance, by tossing food into the open trunk of his van.
Part intervention, part guilty pleasure, and part motivation for Keith to clean his vehicle, this interactive performance elicited enthusiasm, disgust, and delight from various participants.
The final stop on our slow rally was the city-famous Blackfoot Truck Stop. By this point in the afternoon, we were cold and hungry – almost ready for a plate of deep fried treats.
We (Caitlind & Wayne) made a piece called Traffic Circles, using marbles, ink, velocity, and inertia to create generative drawings in the trunk of the van. Drawings were made between each location in a collaboration between artists and automobile.
When CAR SHOW finally drew to a close, we treated ourselves with a visit to one of Calgary’s finest car-centred institutions, pulling up a few booths at Blackfoot Diner.
Thank you to all the artists who participated this week, and the surprisingly enthusiastic group of friends, family, and visitors who came to see CAR SHOW.