Signal 30

Multimedia installation
Collaboration with Scott Birdwise
Photo Gallery / Stills / Exhibitions & Screenings

A cinematic experience doused in film noir atmospherics, Signal 30 is a simulation of a fatal impact, seen from the driver’s seat of a luxury automobile on its way to a date with death. Sit back and relax in the anesthetic comfort of a ’66 Chevy, as the road ahead brings you closer and closer to the end of the line.

This installation was comprised of a reconstituted 1966 Chevy Biscayne, three projections, three stereos and a light system. The front of the car was made to look as if it had experienced a dreadful impact. The car was a also a cinema. The gallery visitor could sit in the reupholstered front seat and see, projected onto the windshield, a first-person ride through a high-speed galaxy of city lights, ending with a death-drive straight into a wall. All the knobs, buttons and dials on the dashboard were lit from behind and glowed radiant blue and green. The visitor would also hear a montage of vintage radio programmes and music emanating through the dashboard, while the sounds of the engine and wheels on asphalt rumbled through the floorboards under their feet. Looking into the rear-view mirror, the visitor would see the road behind them rapidly receding while day magically became night, courtesy of a large wall projection behind the vehicle. The view was distinctly two-dimensional, like in a Hitchcock film.

The effect was like being in a driving scene of a movie, complete with soundtrack. Using cinematic language and devices, the installation created conflicting ideas of engagement (driving, movie watching), technology and speed (aesthetic perfection, devastation), as well as commenting on the life cycle of the modern consumer product. Separate from the car, but creating a dialogue with it, was another video projection, comprised of shots from Impact 66, the original promotional film for the Biscayne, a demolition derby, old wrecks in a junkyard piled high one on top of another, menacing city tower blocks, and extracts from muddy 1950’s driver’s eduction films, including the one from which this installation borrows its title.

Signal 30 (Documentation)
2006 & 2013
5:44 / SD Video
Colour / Stereo Sound

This documentation video was finally completed in 2013 after unused footage of the installation was discovered.

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Signal 30 (Side Projection)
4:37 / SD Video
Colour / Stereo Sound

This video was projected on the wall of the gallery in front of the automobile.

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Wall Projection 5 copy

Signal 30 (Interior Projection)
2:21 / SD Video & Super 8mm
Colour / Stereo Sound

This video was projected onto the inside of the car’s windshield. It contains a mixture of time-lapse Super 8 footage and video imagery (the hands on the wheel, which deliberately splits the point of view). The soundtrack was played from a stereo concealed behind the dashboard.

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Interior Projection 3a