[artinfo] Autostop: exhibition/discussion/film screening at ZKU Berlin

e-artnow info at e-artnow.org
Wed May 24 12:18:13 CEST 2017


ZK/U - Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik


KU is pleased to present the group exhibition Autostop
artists: Jascha Fibich, Oto Hudec, Andrea 
Kalinová, Jžrgen Rendl, Family Worm (Judit 
Fischer, Miklós Mécs, András Zalavári), Frauke 
Zeller & David Harris Smith)
curated by L˜dia Pribi”ová,
accompanied by a discussion with the artists 
moderated by anthropologist Patrick Laviolette 
and a screening of the movie Avé (directed by 
Konstantin Bojanov), which is a part of 
Speisekino program in ZKU.
For this project, various artists from around 
Europe, actively engaging in hitchhiking, were 
asked to present a work connected with this 
topic. The project consists of videos, 
performances, photographs, objects, film 
screenings, texts and discussion.

Until only recently, hitchhiking was a popular 
means of travelling for free, favored among young 
people, students and adventurers. Entire 
generations, now in their thirties to sixties, 
waited along roads, with wind in their hair, 
devising crazy strategies in order to draw 
attention and appear trustful. There are various 
motivations for using this alternative way of 
transport: an inability to pay for 
transportation, a lack of transportation options, 
and a desire for adventure and even ecological 
reasons. Various hitchhikers understand their way 
of travelling in a myriad of ways: as a holiday 
adventure, as a political statement, as a sport, 
as a school of life, and as a meditation but also 
as a sort of art. The action of hitchhiking is 
also an intervention into public space and is 
close to performance art as it deals with the 
emotions, corporeal engagement, body language and 
social interaction. The situation in the car is a 
dense combination of anonymity and intimacy. 
Hitchhiking is not always idyllic; it also has 
its dark and dangerous face - apart from the 
obligatory endless wait in the scorching sun or 
pouring rain, in their hitchhiking career, all 
travelers have had at least one dramatic 
experience. These tales became inspiration for 
various books and movies, among the most famous 
being On the Road by Jack Kerouac /1957/, and The 
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams 
/1978/. The Hitcher is a 1986 road horror film 
directed by Robert Harmon and written by Eric 
Red, with a psychopathic hitchhiker as the 
central character.

The start of hitchhiking is connected with the 
spread of the automobile in the beginning of the 
20th century, especially in USA. Fueled by 
unemployment after the war, a wider ownership of 
cars, and the improvement of the road 
infrastructure, hitchhiking increased in 
prominence and importance throughout the late 
1920s. The majority of hitchhikers in the first 
decades were respectable and reputable: students 
or soldiers. The Second World War saw another 
steep increase in hitchhiking activity in the 
USA, as on the one hand consumption of tires and 
gasoline was restricted in a wartime effort, and 
on the other hand millions of men joined the 
armed forces and became the new privileged class 
of hitchhikers. After the war, the practice also 
started to gain popularity in Europe, first of 
all in Great Britain. In the 1950s, the practice 
became quite popular throughout Europe. It was 
frequently used by the beat generation and later 
by hippies, for which it had meaning of 
politicized signifying practice. It was 
emblematically charged with notions such as 
antiauthoritarianism and solidarity, and promoted 
as an ideational alternative to the societal 
fixation on efficiency and commerce.

Today, hitchhiking is on the decline; people are 
more used to comfort, buying their own cars and 
using low-cost air carriers more frequently, but 
also due to the general deterioration of societal 
trust. Individualism in postindustrial neoliberal 
capitalism has contributed to an erosion of 
solidarity. The internet works for hitching as a 
double agent: with its spread, increased various 
platforms for ride sharing arose and consequently 
a large number of hitchhikers moved to this 
virtual sphere so we see fewer hitchhikers on the 
road. But on the other hand, they started to use 
the tools as hitchwiki and organized themselves 
into platforms such as abgefahren-ev.de, 
tramprennen.org, sporttrampen.de or 

Hitchhiking is, as Maike Mewes wrote in her 
diploma thesis (Riding with Strangers: An 
Ethnographic Inquiry into Contemporary Practices 
of European Hitchhikers, Hamburg, 2016) a 
catalyzer, an incubator of human relations, 
compressing social dynamics to a higher 
intensity, bringing to light the many 
implications of trust, risk, and security, our 
notions of charity and who deserves it, 
conceptions of gift and exchange, as well as 
perceptions of good and bad fortune. It features 
various ethical aspects, such as trust, altruism 
and empathy. The event Autostop aims to revive 
this multitasked social phenomenon and draw more 
attention to it.

Program 26.5.2017

18.00 opening of the show Autostop
19.00 - 20.00 dinner
20.00 discussion about hitchhiking with the 
artists moderated by anthropologist Patrick 
Laviolette and curator L˜dia Pribi”ová
21.00 guided tour in the show
21.30 introduction of the film Avé by the director Konstantin Bojanov
21.30 - 22.00 film projection

ZK/U - Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik
Siemensstrasse 27
10551 Berlin

<mailto:lydia.pribisova at gmail.com>lydia.pribisova at gmail.com
L˜dia Pribi”ová

in collaboration with: 

Supported by Slovak Art Council.

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