Long Distance Highway Hotel
Do you like road movies? I do. I like the ones where the main character has a transformative experience and discovers who they really are. But you know which ones I like even more? The ones where the main character has a transformative experience, and remains completely unchanged by the end of the film. Isn’t that cool? When I was younger these films seemed to say to me: “Hey, kid, if you want to turn that excuse of a personality you have into something hard, and clear, you gotta put some miles under your tires, you understand?”
Sure, I understood. But can you drive towards self knowledge? A distillation of oneself into a clear spirit? Maybe. My adult life has been a series of long trips, so long that I never returned home, and I find myself regularly explaining to people in different places how I came to be, and who exactly I think I am, and what I brought with me from where I came, and what I left behind. And, you know what? I end up saying things about myself I never realised were true until I had to say them, so I guess there is something in it, the travelling I mean.
But you know what’s missing from almost all road movies? Mobile phones. And you know what phones do? They make you even more distant to people than you already are. At least I think they do. They make you aware of the distance, because you can always call, anytime, and if you don’t call, how will you know if they’re OK? Yes, my phone lets me worry about people who are thousands of miles away, and tell them to get home safe, and to text me when they arrive, and be well, as if these requests might guarantee their safety on their own extended trips.
Right now you could call a friend, or a lover, or a family member, and mentally check out of this exhibition. Go ahead, I don’t mind. You could even tell them about this show. You could say: It’s about cars and missing your lover, or loved ones, and worrying about them dying because you have a phone in your pocket, and the artist who made the show uses visuals from things like road movies, and hotel signage, and advertisements in his work, but more like DIY advertisements, you know? The kind you see on highstreets, like in the 10th district of Vienna, which, actually, is where the show is, and it’s all somehow combined with a sense of narrative, but without the work becoming just a prop or an illustration of a story line. At least that’s what the artist says he tries to do, but I guess you can decide for yourself if you want to see it. But, so, you know, if you like all of that kind of thing, it could be good.
Photographs: Rudolf Strobl