Inside view of Shared Propulsion Car by Michel De Brion.
"Jealousy and Resistance" Zoo Magazine. No. 09. (2006) Pg. 23.
Picture this: You're standing at a cross walk on an otherwise normal day
waiting for the light to change. You hear some giggling, some commotion, and
an odd rattling. You turn and see what appears to be a 1986 Buick Regal. But it's
different. The paint job is mostly gone. The whole thing looks like it could fall
apart at any moment. And there isn't the familiar sound of an engine idling. The
giggling continues as the light changes. You stare as the car slowly moves away.
It creaks; squeaks, and you swear you hear sounds that usually come from a
bicycle. What you have probably just seen is Quebecois artist Michel De Brion
with his friends in his Shared Propulsion Car
De Brion replaced the car's engine, transmission, suspension, and
electrical system with 4 independent pedal and gear works. A sophisticated
transmission mechanism coordinates the efforts of the passengers so the car
can move efficiently and is capable of reaching speeds of around 15 km per hour.
De Brion flippantly reports the most common reaction to the car is jealousy
causing him to nickname it "La Jalouse." (French for jealous)."The name came to
me when I produced the piece with my friend Frederic In Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, in
Northeast Quebec. That's where I felt for the first time that people were jealous of
my car. A bunch of artists came to see it and refused to recognize it's conjectural
importance. I think Canada's Council for the Arts was also jealous. They didn't give
me any funding. Perhaps they didn't want an American to be the first to try Shared
De Brion links this piece and his others to the idea of resistance. When
asked how Shared Propulsion Car
explores the concept he says, "To enable a
useless car to drive again is a way of resisting time. The car implies strategic
resistance to traffic laws because it doesn't require a driver's license. The four
guys who pedal provide physical resistance. And occupying the New York streets
in a pedal-powered car is a form of creative resistance."
For more on De Brion visit micheldebroin.org.
For more on Zoo Magazine visit zoomagazine.de.
The cover of Zoo No. 9.
The article as it originally appeared.
Thanks to Zoo Magazine and the artist for permission to reproduce this article.