Update: After weeks of chopping, welding, and deconstructing, artist Jeremy Dean has finally unveiled the Hummer he's converted into a horse-drawn carriage. The end result may seem like a throwback to an era before gas guzzling cars, but for Dean, it's more of a vision of the years to come. "As I see it, this is a time machine from the future, from a world destroyed through over consumption," he writes on his blog, "In this apocalyptic world there will be a massive equality gap between the haves and the have-nots... all of humanity is moving backwards."
Recently, the Hummer-turned-carriage was taken for a spin around New York's Central Park, and to see it set in the backdrop of the metropolis is at once amusing, but also troubling. Broken down into an engineless, impractically large yet somehow still gaudy, horse-drawn carriage, it is seems even more mind-boggling that such an icon of consumerism was ever on the market--all while similarly tank-ish vehicles continue to be produced.
For Dean, his creation is not about just about drawing attention to the wastefulness of cars like the H2 Hummer he de-pimped, but about the culture such a behemoth represents. "I believe that the power of this work lays within the evisceration of the object itself and all that it represents," he writes.
Sure, the Hummer-carriage won't win any speed races matched up against conventional vehicles, but with the future being as uncertain as it is, chances are it'll outlast them all.
While many in the car world tinker and tool their vehicles to try and squeeze a bit more horsepower out of the engines, one American artist did just the opposite--and now his modified Hummer will run on 2 HP, that is, if the horses are willing. For creator Jeremy Dean, the goal was to deconstruct the vehicle, long held as an icon of over-consumption and waste, in hopes of drawing attention to the uncertain future the world faces in light of looming economic and environmental threats.
"We bought a Hummer H2 and destroyed it"
According to the artist's blog, buying a used Hummer H2 for the project set him back around $15 thousand. But, once he got it back to the garage, he and his team spent the next 36 hours cutting up the luxury SUV and stripping it down to into a humble carriage.
Though I have been obsessing about this project for almost a year, I had never actually been in a HUMMER H2, until I bought one, and let me tell you all the stereotypes about them are true. They truly are huge, gas, guzzling tanks...
A Hummer Concept for 2030?
For Dean, the urgency of popularizing alternatives to fossil fuels to power our vehicles could not be overstated. With the availability of oil projected to peak as soon as 2030, Dean's Hummer Carriage may be more practical than the 10.8 mpg original.
The artists points out that, while the car-as-carriage piece may seem like a new idea, it was not such an uncommon sight to see run-down jalopies being pulled by horses during the Great Depression, known then as Hoover Carts.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, leading to the Great Depression, indebted Americans defaulted on their loans worsening the depression and found themselves unable to pay for basic goods including gasoline, so their cars sat idle. The solution in the rural south became to cut the car in half, attach poles to the front and hitch it to a horse.
The Hummer-Cart Should be Finished Soon
Dean and his team aren't quite finished de-pimping their ride yet though, which they plan on unveiling sometime in March. Still, even when it's completed, it won't be your great-great granddaddy's carriage, as they say. Dean is planning on leaving in some of the amenities that made the H2 so desirable to attention seekers--like the chrome wheels, DVD players, GPS, and TV screens.
Now, if they could just find a platinum grill big enough for a horse.
Check out the video of their progress so far:
More on the Art of Climate Change
Man and Nature: Art in the Age of Climate Change
Rethinking Trash into Inspired Art (Slideshow)
Wallpapered Dumpsters: A Sight for Sore Eyes?