ALA MOANA BEACH PARK, HONOLULU, HI, July 4, 2009 — Perhaps the most momentous development of the 20th century was the advent of the automobile age. Subsequently, as one would expect, the 21st century’s first momentous development was the fall of the automobile age. Requiem For The Automobile is the quintessential artwork-composition-performance-concert which heralds the automobile age’s final chapter and demise.
In December 2008, the Bush administration made its first $4 billion bailout loan (“an extraordinary intervention”) to fallen automaking giant General Motors. Since then, even greater amounts of time, money (roughly $50 – $100 billion) and energy have been wasted; culminating in the “moment of reckoning,” May 1, 2009, the official date of bankruptcy and nationalizing of the insolvent company, the onetime icon of American capitalism and onetime heart of the world’s greatest economy in history.”
Simply put, with moments as surreal as this somebody has to do something. So a group of like-minded people came together and called themselves ‘The Anonymous Auto Requiem Collective’ or TAARC.
The Anonymous Auto Requiem Collective (TAARC) did not set out to conceive something crazy or unusual, simply commemorate the occasion. Our intent was to invent a global collaborative idea or social initiative so compelling, powerful and encompassing that it would live forever in our cultural imagination. That is why TAARC chose and commissioned artist LG Williams to provide possibilities for a commemorative artwork to consecrate this momentous episode of modern world history. Williams quickly imagined a huge concert and decidedly went about the task of scripting it using only everyday people and common objects.
The word “requiem” has dark, onerous overtones. Williams felt compelled to convey a specific vision given that the requiem’s bleak subject matter is, afterall, the death of the automobile. Indeed, in theory, the Requiem For The Automobile uses Christianity’s “Mass for the Dead” as its musical precedent — but for practical production purposes the performance’s instructions have been reduced to this:
Requiem For The Automobile
On a given day, a large group of progressive-minded, socially conscious, and alternative culture participants will discreetly disperse randomly throughout a large, predetermined parking lot. Then, at the precise moment, the performance begins when a wide variety of mechanical car alarms or harmonies are inadvertently but respectfully activated (of course, to the participants dismay). A concert recital or requiem results from the cacophony of so many car alarms ringing out (or crying out) in unison one last time across and beyond the expanse of the parking lot. Listeners and anonymous participants can briefly hear the performance and lament the auto’s demise while it is being performed and while they proceed to exit the scene – signaling the end of the impromptu concert.
Your discreet, anonymous participation in this unusual, covert gathering is not only requested, it is essential. For this audience driven project to be a success, the project needs many innocuous, fun-loving people to unwittingly activate their loud car alarm — at an exact place, for a very brief period of time, and then tactfully leave the area.
TAARC wants Requiem For The Automobile to be heard all over the world and with your help and support it can. First, you can spread the message, next pledge a donation online, and finally email us immediately for further details.
Understandably, the local authorities and local communities most acutely stricken by the automobile’s collapse will be reluctant at this time to deal with the unexpected loss and bankruptcy through artistic expression. But it is equally clear to our collaborative that it is important to publicly recognize this historic occasion and give expression to its calamitous effect on all global citizens – as Williams did recently in another groundbreaking, seminal art project: House Where The Bottom Fell Out.
- Composer: LG Williams (Contemporary American)
- Libretto: LG Williams (Contemporary American)
- Production: LG Williams (Contemporary American)
- Conductor: LG Williams (Contemporary American)
- World Premiere: Honolulu, Hawaii, Ala Moana Beach Park (Parking Lot), July 4, 2009, 12 PM (HPT)
- Appx Running Time: 15 minutes