Group exhibition, Site Gallery, 1999
Traffic took as theme the contrast between American ideas of the Road Movie and the romance of road culture and the European equivalent which is more involved with tailbacks, traffic, monotony and stasis. The works in the show highlighted this dichotomy and dealt with what has become an attitude, a way of life not just a side-effect of travel.
Despite the lack of the grand gestures of the road movie in Britain, the desire for the romance of the road endures as does the ironic acknowledgement of the lack of the road or the style to do it properly. The sense of being on a small car-riddled island curtails any delusions of motoring grandeur as does our willing submission, “to perform the endless heel-toe quickstep of grinding synchromesh” (Will Self) instead of a vehicular tango. The romantic potential is more often experienced as a banal monotony.
Artists: Augusto Alves da Silva, Dryden Goodwin, Julian Opie, Mabel Palacin, Mark Somerfield, Nick Waplington, Gary Ward & Oli Watt. The works were shown in the gallery, on the projection window viewed from the street at night and also on advertising billboards on commuter routes in Sheffield. A series of video works were also shown in Jackie Chettur’s Silver Dream Machine – a car converted into a cinema which was parked outside the gallery for the first days of the exhibition.