The W139, a unique space in the cultural scene in amsterdam since 1979, offered me the opportunity to initiate a project. Working with the core team including Doran Schmaal, Andreas Scholl and Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries we worked on a project for over two years, being realised as “/|\” (otherwise known as Highway). The exhibition celebrated the romantism of the highway, a place often celebrated through cinema, music, literture and art. Other the course of four weeks we held events that engaed with theortical and cinematic approaches to notions of the highway. The invited artist where brought together and asked to think about these notions and apply this to there own work.
Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries, Daniel Hofstede, Sil Krol, Momu & No Es, Eric von Robertson, Benjamin Roth, Fraser Stewart, Koen Taselaar, Andreas Tscholl, Robbert Weide
Five guys in a ragged station wagon covered with bumper stickers, speeding towards a destination unknown. Iggy Pop, shirtless, is driving and grinning frantically. Jack Kerouac is riding shotgun, high on an unknown substance, filling sheets of paper with frenzied scribbling, scratching “NOTHING BEHIND ME, EVERYTHING AHEAD OF ME”. In the back, James Ballard is licking the window. Filippo Marinetti, in the middle, leans forward and shouts in a thick Italian accent: “Let’s go! Friends, away! Let’s go! WE MUST SHAKE AT THE GATES OF LIFE, TEST THE BOLTS AND HINGES, LET’S GO!” Wim Wenders is gazing out of the window, solemnly thinking “THE YANKS HAVE COLONIZED OUR SUBCONSCIOUS”.
A line of trucks approach and roar past, Iggy hoots and shouts. Suddenly he swerves and pulls the car over on the side of the road, where two men are sitting on the roadside, wearing similar black-rimmed glasses and checkered shirts. Iggy sticks his head out of the window, beckons them to come over. They introduce themselves as the Strugatsky brothers and ask in broken English for a ride. They scramble on the back seat, and as the car accelerates, they share their sandwiches with the company. One brother says “PUT IN YOUR TEETH”, the other whispers “LET’S GO”.
Kerouac turns up the radio to Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ and hums along as the car travels on.
Sirens howl. The oncoming road is jammed, a motorbike gang stands nearby, one of them has collided with several cars. Squeezed on top of Marinetti’s lap, Ballard excitedly opens the window, leans out and twists his neck to get a better view, screaming “QUICK, LET’S MAKE LOVE, BEFORE YOU DIE!” Iggy snarls at him, speeds up and says “Let’s get a drink boys. In a couple of miles we’ll hit the Finish Line Diner, let’s grab some of them drinks, they say they give you brain freeze!”
Jack Kerouac, On the Road, 1957
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, 1909 (trans. 1973)
Wim Wenders, Im Lauf der Zeit, 1976
Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky, Roadside Picnic, 1971
The Normal, Warm Leatherette, 1978
Text by Arda van Tiggelen
Public program by Doran Schmaal