Inspired by the title of IS’ Mujahid Guide, How To Survive In The West is a research project by Gigi and an ongoing exploration of places of poetic contrast. In search of this contrast, How To Survive In The West wants to display instead of judge, rather clash than harmonize, always trying to place cultural artefacts in a different instead of a predictable context.
HTSITW can be seen as a series of publications which together tell a story, display a larger whole. ‘Passing a tractor in Google Street View’ can be seen as the first chapter of this offbeat manual about ‘how to survive in the West’.
This publication shows the confrontation between the Google Street View car and tractors on small country roads in Belgium and The Netherlands. The clash between one of the most powerful companies in the world and a farmer transporting his potatoes generates an interesting energy. Despite our progress, we still seem bound to some simple rules, no matter how big the differences between two parties appear to be.
A year of driving on the roads of Google maps followed and 14 confrontations where selected. Each time trying to identify three situations: the encounter – the manoeuvre – the open road. Not in the last confrontation, where the Google Street View car got stuck behind a tractor. After 500 meter, the chase suddenly stopped when both vehicles chose a different road on the T-junction. After a visit, a big photograph of this place of parting fills the last page of the publication.
The 50 copies were hand-numbered and Myriam provided the cover each publication with a big calligraphed 1. To present the first publication of How To Survive In the West Gigi organized a sunday afternoon with puzzles of the different situations.
The publication can be ordered here.