Chip Lord. The Empire of the Image
The automobile was the central icon of Ant Farm’s projects and one of the most representative visual motifs of Chip Lord’s works. Two- Lane Blacktop (1971) foresaw the end of the road movie genre, but also the end of the iconic image of the lone car speeding across an empty landscape, while Easy Living (1984), made in collaboration with collector Mickey McGowan using miniature cars and plastic human figures, can be seen as a criticism and at the same time, an affectionate fleeting look at the United States leisure class. Motorist (1989) presents one last trip, in more than one sense, in which Lord reveals the pollution inherent in the idealisation of automobiles, the imagination and drivers’ memories using glamorous car advertisements, out of which the director constructs an audiovisual collage with magazine fold-outs from the 1950s and dreamy car competition ads, connecting individual fascination with the collective obsession about cars.
Ultimately, the automobiles cannot be distinguished from the country itself, driven at full speed towards a culture of pure consumerism, and from that point of view, Chip Lord’s work can be seen as a reflection on dreams and myths, truths and lies, on reality and fiction in a world manufactured by the American dream beginning in the 1950s.