CARBON COPY, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2018. Automobile, fibreglass, structural steel. 15.5 ft x 5.6 ft x 4.4 ft. Fabricated by F&D Scene Changes. Coordinated by Zebra Public Art Management. Commissioned by First Capital Realty and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. Edmonton Brewery District, Edmonton, Canada.
In May, we installed CARBON COPY, a new public artwork using a 1988 Plymouth Caravelle to create a pithy monument to car culture in North America. Designed for the site-specific context of Edmonton’s newly re-opened Brewery District, CARBON COPY transforms an unremarkable suburban car into an illuminated obelisk, a monument to North America’s car-centric culture, and a glitch in our regular understanding of everyday life.
To create this public artwork, we worked with Calgary-based fabricators F&D Scene Changes to transform a 1988 Plymouth Caravelle by cutting and re-shaping the car into a new form simulating digital glitch aesthetics (see the rest of this blog for details). Derived from a “rolling shudder smear,” CARBON COPY is based on scanner manipulations created by sliding an image across the scanner bed while it’s being copied.
Literally flattening a 3D car into a 2D photograph, printing the image, scanning it, and re-creating the 2D image as a 3D sculpture, CARBON COPY re-interprets digital information back into physical form using the raw materiality of a found automobile.
At night, the interior of CARBON COPY glows with a scrolling band of light, aesthetically simulation the light inside a flatbed scanner.
This triple-simulation from 3D to 2D and back again illustrates a metaphor for contemporary culture, where information is interpreted, re-interpreted, and misinterpreted in a constant cycle (and re-cycle) of technology, media, and digital space.
Within this complex landscape, glitches and aberrations are sometimes re-absorbed, moving beyond their genesis to become something new, separate, and previously unimaginable – a broken mirror image of their origins.
CARBON COPY creates a narrative of divergent aesthetics: 2D and 3D, real and surreal, raw and refined, digital and physical, comedic and imposing, familiar and new. The resulting work is a strong presence as a sculptural anomaly, designed with strong ties to Edmonton and the broader context of North American culture. Ultimately, we hope the work will become a wayfinding device for patrons of the Brewery District – whether they’re travelling by foot, by bus, or by car, the sculpture will become a familiar fixture in the landscape.