– art as hommage to prosperity, tolerance and evolution
Background and Objective
27 member states of the EU had a total freight transport estimated close to 2200000000000 metric ton‐kilometers (tkm or ktm = transportation of 1 metric ton over 1 kilometer) in 2009. Over three quarters (77.5 %) of this freight was transported by road. Two thirds of all goods transported by roads in 2010 were transported within each member state. Source
In Denmark (2011) freight transportation by road was 12 tkm, carrying 178000000 tons of goods. The number of heavy trucks roaming a highway network of 1130 kilometers was 28.480. Source
A new projection from the National Environmental Research Institute expects a total emission of greenhouse gases in Denmark to be 66.200.000.000 tons CO2 in 2008-2012. In 2010 the transport sector was responsible for 25% (16.721.000.000 tons CO2) of the emission in Denmark. Source
All these numbers are expected to increase. The following facts are provided to further elucidate the illogicalities: our planet weighs 5.9736×1024 kg and moves through space at a velocity of 107.200 km/h. Production capacity of bio-diesel in the EU was 22.117.000 tons in 2011. Popular bio-fuel crops like canola and soybeans require about 14.000 liters of water to produce 1 liter of diesel. A standard European truck has an average mileage of 3 km per liter. 146.000.000 million children in developing countries are under-weight. Source
The ramifications, not just for Europe, but for the planet in general are significant. This ritualistic piece of art is designed to provide a sense of perspective and scale on the environmental impact humanity installs on it. Instead of alienating the audience with endless rows of data and the difficult to understand terminology regarding the objective, metaphoric values and images are provided.
The large-scale sculpture consists of 3 basic elements: the Truck, the Track and the Travel. It will take exactly 1 year to complete the performative installation, not including time for preparation. On conclusion all remains of the artwork are to be left untouched at site, except for the base station itself, which will be dismantled and disposed of. Any documentation produced by the artist in connection with the artwork that does not exist in digital form, will also be destroyed. Digitized material will be publicly accessible online under a common license for a limited time of 999.999 hours after the conclusion of the piece. At that moment all official items connected to the project will be deleted. Any evidence hereafter will be in the hands of general folklore and/or entities with the artist and his work.
Lille Vildmose (LVM) is the largest remaining raised bog in Denmark (DK). It covers 76 km2 (situated approximately 30 km west of highway E45) thus making it the largest nature reserve in DK and the largest bog of its kind in northwestern Europe. Due to extensive peat digging and other commercial exploitation, this habitat for several endangered species of animals and plants has slowly shrunk in size and deteriorated at a steady pace for centuries. Efforts to save the unique nature of the bog have only recently begun and as of 1999 the Golden Eagle has started breeding there again, re-establishing itself as the crown jewel of the preserved wildlife at LVM.
Total coverage of the core installation will extend to almost 8 km2, LVM being the only flat area in DK big enough to accommodate it. The center point of the circular track will be +56° 49′ 47.02″, +10° 12′ 34.69″. Auxiliary facilities for maintenance, exhibition and security will be situated in a base station at the 12 o’clock point of the track-circle.
A standard, 25-meter long, European, white-cabbed, rigid tanker-truck equipped with a 20.000-liter payload of standard bio-diesel. The tank is constructed in a transparent acrylic material (PMMA) in order to make its pale yellow content visible. Neither Truck nor tank displays any graphic marking, except for a scale on each side of the tank measuring the contents by 52 increments.
The Truck is modified to meet several different requirements for its operation: the engine is connected to and fueled by the cargo-tank. A computerized system will start, work and stop the engine autonomously in accordance to a strictly specified schedule. The automatic pilot system provides a continued maximum speed of 10 km/h throughout the operation of the Truck, except on the days specifically assigned for calibration of speed and/or driving time needed to meet the schedule. Exterior illumination of the Truck over night, or in periods of low-level light, will be provided by high capacity floodlights mounted on all sides of the truck, thus providing light for the night-shift driver to navigate by, but also making the position of the Truck visible from the base station at all times. Wireless state-of-the-art systems for satellite broadcasting of TV-signals, internet streaming and communications are installed and operated from the Truck. The cabin can accommodate up to 5 people at a time and is furbished with everything necessary for a comfortable and safe residency for the driver(s) and their guests.
The Truck will at all time be manned with minimum 1 driver. All drivers will work one 8-hour shift at a time. The drivers crew will consist of the artist as the main driver supplemented by an extendable number of volunteer drivers. Special guests will be invited to drive honorary rounds or to be passengers at certain occasions. During these visits the artist, or the driver in charge, will conduct interviews, happenings or similar events that will be broadcast from the Truck either live or recorded for later use. The guests will come from all walks of life, and the public is invited to propose people as guests or apply for themselves to be guests, thus making the cabin of the Truck a public platform of communication for celebrities, artists, musicians, politicians, religious figures, teachers, students, neighbors, parents, children etcetera.
Facilitation and service of the Truck will be carried out from a “satellite” mobile unit designed to perform this task while in motion. This includes delivery of goods for the crew and driver as well as the crews and guests themselves. Maintenance and emergency tasks will be performed at the base station, preferably in the designated time slots of the schedule.
The main stage for the Truck is laid out as a perfect circle track with a diameter of 3.183 meters. This provides a Track length of exactly 10 kilometers, allowing one hour per circumference of the Truck. The center point of the circular Track will not be marked. An “outer ring” of the Track will provide a service lane for the satellite vehicle. All movement on the Track will commence in a clockwise direction and never on foot.
The bog will provide a level, unobstructed area for a dirt track, running directly on the soil at hand. Due to the natural qualities of the bog, reinforcement of the Track bed with gravel will be done before and during the project where necessary. This will include drainage of areas with excess water and removal of any vegetation that grows above the Trucks clearing height.
There will be no other markings of the Track than the Track itself. A simple guidance system will be incorporated but not visible to the naked eye, transferring a signal to the Truck causing an auditory warning to sound if the Truck is getting off course: if direction needs to be corrected to the right (towards the center point of the Track) a pre-recorded male voice will chant the word “duragraha” until the Truck is back on course. For a correction to the left, the signal will be the word “satyagraha” chanted by a female voice.
At the northernmost, 12 o’clock point of the Track, a base station will be build to house everything necessary for the maintenance of the project. This will include living quarters for the staff and guests, but also a spacious exhibition area for the public with a panoramic, elevated view of the Track. Video screens will show the interior of the Truck cabin. Occasionally a two-way communications system will be applied between exhibition area and Truck. The audience is not allowed on to the Track itself. A fire squad will be on guard 24/7 as well as a team of biologists assigned to keep the Track as clear from wildlife as possible.
At the first second of sunday, january 1st, in the leap year of 2017 the Travel is kicked off. For the next year the Truck is scheduled by its computer system to drive non-stop, for all 24 hours of each day of the week, except for Saturdays and Sundays. These days are reserved for rest and recuperation of drivers and staff and maintenance to the Truck. Every first monday of the month is designated as a buffer day. Either operating time will be shortened, or the speed of the Truck will be altered according to calculations of the onboard computer, so the Truck can meet the nominated schedule and/or fuel consumption. Holidays will not be observed.
As the Track at first will have no visible markings made by the Trucks weight and its tires, the shifts between drivers will be shortened to accommodate for the extra stress of keeping the Truck on Track, until these marks of wear to the Track become obvious. This is expected to happen within the first 24 circumferences.
The events happening during the one year long Travel, will be broadcast to an independent TV channel as well as to cable networks and the internet. Programmed events will happen on a regular basis over the year, e.g. the inaugurational interviews of guests invited prior to the start of the Travel (both of the Dalai Lama’s, President Vladimir Putin and King Frederik X of Denmark will be the first honorary guests). Spontaneous events will also be announced and transmitted at will.
An hourly updated programme and an application form for people who want to participate as either guests or volunteers, will at be accessible through the extensive website attached to the project. Some events like the daily weather forecast, the weekly news resume and the monthly roadkill cooking show will be syndicated for commercial stations to buy. The income hereby generated, as well as all other revenue, will be donated to a host of charity organisations aimed at third world development.
The conclusion of the Travel will happen unceremoniously and end at the exact last second of 2017, sunday the 31st.