Driving cultural revolution towards global sustainability

Installation for the Milton Keynes International Festival by Janek Schaefer,   IF
Artist in Residence 2010

Asleep at the wheel…” is an immersive sound installation for multiple car radios that contemplates our future. Exhibited in a vast disused supermarket space, a three-lane ghost road of cars dissects the darkened interior, animated by sound and projection. With the car headlights on, and hazard lights blinking, you are invited to be a back seat passenger, as the interior becomes your personal sound cinema. A series of FM radio transmitters broadcast the music and sound bites to each car differently. The soundtrack is composed from middle of the road music loops, traffic and car rhythms, naïve childhood musical fragments and distant motorways. These are transformed into ethereal fast & slow motion ambiences to create calmly terrifying daydream spaces that recharge the spirit for the journey ahead …..

My main point is that we are culturally ‘asleep at the wheel’ in charge of a lethal weapon careering ahead at full speed blindly hurtling towards a finite dead end somewhere out of sight over the hill ahead… we have tunnel vision. Combine this with the recent motor industry problems with thier ‘sticky accelerators’ and ‘broken brakes’ the installation serves as a pertinent metaphor of societies head long, pedal to the metal, attitude to the future, a pile-up we can bypass if we wake from our collective daydream. We need to switch off cruise control and change gear, before we overtake ourselves. ‘Tipping Point’, ‘Ecological Intelligence’, ‘Peak Oil’, Transition Towns, Carbon Tax, Plugin-Hybrid and the 10:10 campaign are a few of the new sign posts by which we must navigate the road ahead. There are alternatives, only the future remains …”

Janek Schaefer is a leading international sound artist, and in 2008 was The British Composer of the Year in Sonic Art.
He is the Artist in Residence for the IF Festival 2010. More info at

IF: Milton Keynes International Festival takes place from 16 – 25 July 2010, for more information visit or call the box office on 01908 280800

By |2016-11-01T15:05:51+00:00June 6th, 2010|AGF Blog|