How to smash up a car a day purely in the name of art
This article is from 2007.
Christian Von Richthofen likes a vehicle to sound good. ‘In Germany it’s the Opel,’ he says. ‘The way the bonnet swings is like an Indian drum. On one side, the mudguards sound like a bass drum and on the other, a conga.’ None of this would interest your average boy racer, but Von Richthofen doesn’t waste time hitting the pedal when he could be hitting the car. Very hard. All over.
In every performance of Auto Auto he destroys a vehicle with the power of percussion. In Edinburgh he’ll be getting through 26 of them, beating out a rhythm to the music of Bach, Motörhead, Tchaikovsky and Benny Goodman, first with his hands, then with sticks, hammers and crowbars until he’s left with a wreck. For safety’s sake, the front three rows of the audience have to wear helmets. ‘If you’re a professional drummer you can’t stop your fingers tapping,’ he says. ‘If you’re waiting by a car, you start to play drums on the roof and you find out that the car is like a big drum. We start to work on the car, but always in rhythm, using the car as an instrument. Every beat we make is on the music, so it’s never vandalism. It’s pain combined with ecstasy.’ (Mark Fisher)
Pleasance Courtyard, the Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 5.30pm, £14–£15 (£11.50–£12). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.