This sculpture is a machine that advances two full sized automobiles slowly into one another over a period of 6 days, simulating a head on automobile collision.  Each car moves about three feet into the other.  The movement is so slow as to be invisible.
It is almost impossible to watch a modern action film without at least one automobile wreck. Why do we find interest and excitement it new versions of the same event?  Why are we not satisfied? Cars are extensions of our body and our ego.  We buy or modify cars that reflect our personalities and egos.  When we see an automobile destroyed, in a way we are looking at our own inevitable death. This moment is, because of it's inherent speed, almost invisible. We have slowed the event via film and video but only from a cameras perspective. We never get to see the transformation of living breathing car too wreck in its entirety, in detail. This piece offers the viewer the ability to examine in three dimensions the collision of these cars. A moment that might take a fraction of a second in an actual collision will be expanded to take days. 
Car wrecks are spectacular moments.  This piece by changing one of the key variables removes and changes the nature of the event.   What was life threatening is now rendered safe.  What was supremely spectacular is now almost static.   The wreck has been broken down to its Newtonian components.  We are left to contemplate our own mortality our own Newtonian components.



This piece was made with the help of Karl Biewald of AXN-RXN.  We designed this piece to simulate a 30 mph head on collision. The piece took guidance from four major sources. A small scale model I made, collision studies, industrial car compactor and FEA analysis of a Solidworks computer model.  From the small model showed us a procedure that produced a crash the looked good.  From the collision studies we found the force numbers that we would have to obtain. From the industrial compactor we found economical means to create the forces needed and the FEA allowed us to design a structure that was minimal yet effective. 

Made with engineering by Karl Biewald



Produced by STUK arts centre and City of Leuven 
Supported by LMS international

Shown at:
STUK art center in Leuven Belgium FEB 12-17 2008 
NEXT art fair Chicago APRIL 24-28 2008