‘Unsafe at Any Speed’, Organized by Eli Kerr

820Plaza, Montreal is showcasing Unsafe at Any Speed, a group exhibition organized by Eli Kerr featuring works by Ivana Basic, Valérie Blass, Michel de Broin, Matt Goerzen, Jon Rafman and Sydney Shen, with an exhibition text by Rebecca Lemire.

Unsafe at Any Speed borrows its title from Ralph Nader’s 1963 expose on the American Auto Industry. The work, which hallmarked a fundamental moment in the history of consumer activism, revealed that the industry designed automobiles for aesthetics, speed and performance while neglecting to implement vital safety features.

By the turn of the 21st century the unit of personal computers sold per annum had far surpassed that of automobiles. A black 2001 Ford Explorer was one of the last cars to be manufactured in the 20th century. Large, powerful and austere, the American SUV became emblematic of resilience in the early 2000’s, providing a perceived security and safety in a time plagued by anxieties of terror and existential risk.

Deconstructed on site at 820Plaza, a former auto body garage, the Explorer has become a modern ruin and site to consider the ways in which contemporary forms of distress and uncertainty relate to technological environments, and how the legacies of these formations shape our bodies and the collective mental self.

01_installview_fromstreet_unsafeatanyspeed

“Perhaps less widely known is that Nader’s  book  was  precipitated  by  The Ford Motor Company’s anti-­Corvair ad campaign which specifically targeted the positioning of the  engine in support of  their more logically designed Falcon.  Ford has since become synonymous with one of  the biggest  safety scandals in automotive history, involving 240 roll-over related deaths, 3000 catastrophic injuries,  and a Sports  Utility Vehicle called  the Explorer.  Despite  this  incident, the Explorer has remained the world’s best-­selling  SUV. Ford Marketing  consultant  Martin Goldfarb claims  that when  it was released in 1990 the family-­friendly Explorer “filled a whole set of physical and psychological needs that no other car had previously managed to do”.  Billed as the ‘civilized way to return to nature’, the Explorer possesses the ability to conquer any terrain.  How might this be possible?  Here, our 6 artists have performed a dissection on the vehicle so  that  we  may better understand  the whole. Stripped of its various power sources, its entrails strewn about, we can finally comprehend this great voyager, this master of time and space.”
Excerpt from ‘Picnoleptic Conquests‘ by Rebecca  Lemire
Read full text here

02_new_ivanabasic_unsafeatanyspeedIvana Basic. Fantasy Vanishes In Flesh. Silicone, Pigment, Fabric, Armature. 2015.

03_new_ivanabasic_unsafeatanyspeedIvana Basic. Fantasy Vanishes In Flesh. Silicone, Pigment, Fabric, Armature. 2015.

04_new_ivanabasic_unsafeatanyspeedIvana Basic. Fantasy Vanishes In Flesh. Silicone, Pigment, Fabric, Armature. 2015.

05_micheldebroin_unsafeatanyspeedMichel de Broin, Dehorning. Steering Wheel, Steering Column, Battery and Hornremoved from 2001 Ford Explorer. 2015.


Jon Rafman, Mainsqueeze. HD Video. 2014.

07_jonrafman_unsafeatanyspeedJon Rafman, Mainsqueeze. HD Video. 2014.

09_sydneyshen_unsafeatanyspeedSydney Shen. Alain’s Document |. Digital C-print, Nylon Webbing, Diamond-tread Aluminum, Rubber, Wood, Hardware. 2014.

11_mattgoerzen_unsafeatanyspeedMatt Goerzen, The Technical. Imported Toyota Hilux Tailgate, Imported Co-Exist Stickers.

12_mattgoerzen_unsafeatanyspeedMatt Goerzen, The Technical. Imported Toyota Hilux Tailgate, Imported Co-Exist Stickers.

13_installview_jon_matt_unsafeatanyspeedMatt Goerzen, The Technical. Imported Toyota Hilux Tailgate, Imported Co-Exist Stickers.

14_sydneyshen_unsafeatanyspeedSydney Shen. Untitled (Edition Antifreeze). Key chain, Persevered Scorpion. 2015.

cfbd77f6d9fa6e70da0365d483a27aa6Unsafe at Any Speed Exhibition view.

78d318a13264d3a9956e263b1736d83dValérie Blass, Untitled. Plaster and Cloth. 2009.

15_installview_unsafeatanyspeedUnsafe at Any Speed Exhibition view.

Unsafe at Any Speed

Organized by Eli Kerr

feat: Ivana Basic, Valérie Blass, Michel De Broin, Matt Goerzen, Jon Rafman and Sydney Shen

images copyright and courtesy of the artists and 820Plaza, Montreal

@ 820Plaza, Montreal, Canada
October 9 – November 20, 2015

www.820plaza.com