Drive, 2013

Blindside, Melbourne, Australia

This video project focuses on forces and choices that may arbitrarily alter our individual sense of purpose. Drive explores the subject of a city as a place of compulsive movement experienced through random and variable encounters. Through footage captured while driving home from work over countless days, this moving image installation forms through the presentation of chance occurrences to evoke what we all experience when we drive through the city: the recognition of moving towards a destination in our thinking while drifting within our minds, imagining narratives and divergences. In making this work I wanted to establish the experience of flux and impermanence within contemporary society, and the fascination that we have with our ever changing, shifting present. 

The city as phenomena has often been presented as a space of alienation, or conversely utopianism, and has been the subject of art since the 19th Century. Drive investigates the city as an inconclusive space, as a location so familiar and habitual to those incessantly moving within their own urban space that we may often experience narratives formed through a type of disembodied interiority. By stepping out of our conscious sense of predetermination and by drifting within our minds while driving, our experience and sense of being may feel more subject to forces or choices that arbitrarily alter our sense of purpose, particularly as journeys by definition usually must go somewhere.

Therefore, in driving and drifting and experiencing fragmentary encounters, the expectation of arrival is constantly frustrated or absent in this work. Drive is located within perpetual movement along with some pointless moments of stasis, all with the uncomfortable suggestion that these two states may in fact be the same thing within an indeterminate and seemingly endless urban zone. The failure of arrival and the lack of a clear narrative focus within this work forces us to re-adjust expectations, as it evokes both potential and inertia.

Drive asks that we visit city passages in unfamiliar ways to reflect on experiences formed through various and chance occurrences, to connect to the idea that transit is equally transition, an embodied, and disembodied encounter, and a state formed in perpetual commencements.

— Peter Westwood, 2013

Fig 1–2. Installation views. Photographs, the artist.

This project was supported by the City of Melbourne through the Arts Grants Program.

© Peter Westwood 2020