Individual transport system between Zilina and the Stanica art centre, Slovakia, photo HeHe, 2005
"It is a bit like a trip to the house where the man has been building hovercraft. The idea of moving away escaping something yet creating new forms and better structures. Useful multitransport systems that can only work at the moment of testing."(1)
Underlying Train is the critical role of traffic and its industry for our society. Traffic has an impact for everybody; locally or remotely. The transportation industry and its economic power have a direct effect on pollution, large-scale urban planning schemes, political decision-making and the distribution of wealth. On a more semantic level, the car industry has successfully blurred the boundary between real functional needs and transportation dreams made possible through the acquisition of automobile artifacts. On the other hand, many big research programmes seeking for alternative forms of public transport, for example Personal Rapid Transit systems carried out internationally could in most cases not offer a viable solution (2). French sociologist, Bruno Latour reflected on the failure of France's most ambitious attempt to develop a working Personal Rapid Transit system and published the work as 'Aramis. Or, the Love of Technology' (3).
Between urbanism, vehicle design and automation the project Train is a research into the aesthetics of movement and travel. To locate the work we are using real, existing past, present and future, abandoned or at times unused transportation systems; This idea was originally inspired by the Paris railway track 'La Petite Ceinture', which stopped its service in 1934 and the new tramway, which is partly completed. Both transportation systems are encompassing the city centre of Paris and are running parallel to the main traffic artery of Paris, the Periphérique, which is the circular city motorway that defines Paris and its Banlieu (the suburbs). It is this discrete line that splits the city into inside and outside. The Periphérique itself is pure automobile infrastructure and at peak times the traffic moves at walking speed.
Technological process feathers at its periphery. Similar to a fractal image an innovation is followed by other innovations, based on the original one. In a recursive environment like this we would like to go back to the origin, the innovation of railway and propose a different solution, here an individual perpetuated vehicle. In this way artistic process starts by going backwards – to reverse cultural engineer a process - to propose utilitarian design scenarios.The Train project is a speculation into the language and aesthetics of transportation, particularly those that have become so ubiquitous and unquestionable for us. By proposing different real installations which would work within active or abandoned public transport structures and a series of conceptual designs a dialogue should be raised that engages in questions about the reality and "real fiction" of traffic.
The Bamboo Train in Battambang, Cambodia, DIY reappropriation of abandoned rail structures
The "H-Line", New York , 2007, photo HeHe
"Vertical Elevation", One Liberty Plaza, NY, 2007, photo HeHe
Valenciennes, France, photo HeHe, 2006
San José, USA, photo HeHe, 2006
Near Métro Corentin Cariou, old station Pont de Flandre, photo HeHe, 2003
Train service between two possible access points, the Ourc bridge and old Charonne train station
The Petite Ceinture encompassing Paris, red: between Ourc bridge and old Charonne train station
Pont Ourc, photo HeHe, 2003
Petite Ceinture at Porte de Saint Ouen towards Porte de Clichy, 2003, film Julien Saglio
Petite Ceinture, parc Buttes Chaumont, photo HeHe, 2003
Petite Ceinture, looking in direction Stalingrad, photo HeHe, 2003
(1) Liam Gillick, Fifth cousin remouved, in Metronome 7, London 2001, edited by Clementine Deliss
(3) Bruno Latours book about the french PRT research project ARAMIS: "Aramis is a very high tech automated subway that was developped in France during the eighties; after its sudden demise, an investigation has been requested in the reasons of this failure; the book is the scenography of this enquiry that aims at understanding what happened to Aramis, at training readers in the booming field of technology studies and at experimenting in the many new literary forms that are necessary to handle mechanisms and automatisms without using the belief that they are mechanical nor automatic."