Artist Creates Traffic Jam in Supermarket (Video)

asleep at the wheel art installation photo

Image credit: Janek Schaefer

From stunning nude photographs on an industrial pig farm to beautiful photography of plastic bags, there's no doubt that art can play a powerful role in shaping our perception of the problems we face. But can it also change behavior? One artist has created an ambitious art installation—filling a disused supermarket with abandoned cars—to make a statement about our relationship to cars and oil. But, crucially, he's also provided some signposts about where we go next. When sonic artist Janek Schaefer was invited to create an art installation about cars in the UK town of Milton Keynes (famous for its gigantic traffic circles), he found an abandoned supermarket, painted a 3 lane highway on it, and then filled it with confiscated cars and called it Asleep at the wheel. Each car played its own soundtrack reflecting on car culture and its consequences—including voices from leading environmental thinkers like Richard Heinberg. Here's Schaefer's take on what its all about, found via Rob Hopkins' own post on the Asleep at the Wheel installation:

Asleep at the wheel... is a metaphor for how we are culturally careering down the fast lane of life in charge of a lethal weapon with our head in a daydream and our foot to the floor with the expectation that the road goes on forever.

So far so good. Yet another art piece about why we are all so bad and civilization is doomed, right? Not so much. Schaefer's piece also celebrates the freedom that cars have brought us and, most importantly, it includes a separate section where visitos—having explored car culture—can read up on resources and watch videos that are all about inspiring change—from reducing your own carbon footprint to establishing community transition initiatives.

So good to see art that offers vision, not just perspective.

Asleep at the Wheel... Short Film by Janek Schaefer from Janek Schaefer on Vimeo.

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