Green Week: Life on the Road
PARC participated in UAL/LCC Green Week for the first time, in 2014. Working with Sarah Temple and Tara Hanrahan, founder organizers of LCC Green Week, we curated a major new exhibition with Tom Hunter- Life on the Road- and worked with Paul Lowe on Survive, an exhibition and symposium. In September 2014, Val, Brigitte and Robin will be joining the Conscientious Communicators fieldtrip to East Sussex, where ideas for Green Week 2015 will be discussed. PARC was also very pleased to host Sarah and Tara as the keynote speakers at the PARC 2014 Summer Symposium.
Life on the Road.
Photographs by Tom Hunter and Dave Fawcett, films by Andrew Gaston.
Upper Street Gallery, London College of Communication
6 - 26 February 2014
Opening Party and signing of Le Crowbar published by Here Press on 5
This exhibition, showing work by photographers Tom Hunter and Dave
Fawcett, and filmaker Andrew Gaston captures a remarkable moment in time,
in the 1990s, when young people travelled around Europe in a variety of
vehicles adapted as homes, forming transitory communities based around
festivals, music and a shared rejection of the increasingly consumerist values
of Western society.’ Travelling in decommissioned buses and vans, these new
explorers constructed a vision of a kind of utopia , which is now embedded in
our collective memory of the 1990s. From Hunter’s documentary of everyday
life on the road, to Fawcett’s meticulous record of traveller buses, and
Gaston’s elegaic footage of parties, this exhibition, which is an integral part of
UAL Green Week, is both celebration and memorial.
…and with just a flyer from Steve Bedlam, stating “Hostomice, It’s Out
There… The Tekno Travellers’ Holiday Destination Of The Year” as
directions, we head off to Europe.’ (Tom Hunter, 2013)
In 1995 Tom Hunter set off from a squatted street in Hackney with a group of
friends in an old double decker bus, loaded with muesli, Sosmix, baby-foot (?)
table and a sound system. Fuelled by selling egg butties, veggie burgers and
beer, their journey took them through folk festivals in France, teknivals in
Czech Republic, hippie gatherings in Austria and beach parties in Spain. Le
Crowbar Café became an oasis for a nomadic party community hungry for all
night food and a break from hardcore techno.
Hunter’s series, ‘Le Crowbar’, shown at LCC for the first time, paints a vivid
picture of friends on a journey, exploring new horizons and ways of living on
the road, in the wake of the introduction of the Criminal Justice and Public
Order Act 1994.
Sadly a large part of this activity has become transformed into a nostalgic
archive for a lifestyle that has largely disappeared from the highways &
byways of England.
Dave Fawcett’s archive of converted buses and trucks is a unique
photographic record which formed the basis for his ‘Traveller Homes’ website.
His topographic studies record a segment of English social history, which still
struggles to survive.
Since graduating from Leicester University in 1984 ‘Traveller’ Dave Fawcett
has embraced the bender lifestyle. His first ‘mobile home’ was an ex-British
Telecom Bedford TK. In 1992 he bought a 1966 Albion Chieftain furniture lorry
and drove it on a one-way trip to Europe. He survives as a fruit picker during
the summer months and still lives on his bus.
So a crowd of us climbed into my girlfriend's bus (which she'd christened
'Phoebus Apollo' and later painted with snake scales) and set off for Europe,
where the laws were more lax. We danced under the stars, passed out under
bars and baked cakes whilst cruising down the autobahn.
Andrew Gaston is a video artist who used customised CCTV equipment to
document a figure ‘8’ journey to Europe, and various free parties between
1994-1997. His films record the energy and the times of a journey that was
often intertwined with ‘Crowbar’.
Life on the Road is a Photography and the Archive Research Centre project,
made in partnership with the UAL London College of Communication as part
of Green Week, 2014. The project demonstrates PARC’s ongoing interest in
contemporary archives and the counterculture and follows on from its recent
work with the archives of Daniel Meadows, Stuart Griffiths and Marjolaine
Ryley. The exhibition arose out of a collaboration between two UAL
Professors, Val Williams and Tom Hunter, has been co-curated by them and
organized by Robin Silas Christian.