12th November - 27th November 2021,

Opening 12th February 6pm-10pm

MONO Lisboa

R. Feio Terenas 31A, 1170-176 Lisboa, Portugal

Entitled 30.000, Charli Tapp’s textual essay on the extent of automation was distributed a poster to the visitors of MONO Lisboa’s show Cruise Control. Gliding over a visual from fellow artist Jeanne Briand (Lone Driver, 2021), Tapp’s text dissects the carried symbolism of modern car’s cruise control function, as the advent in technology where a pivotal point is crossed and control is obtained while control is given up.


It’s the average number of parts, when broken down to the individual bolt, amounting to a single gesture of quasi-absurd simplicity - a few degrees tilt of the ankle - resulting in the propelling of the human body vastly beyond human speed.

In time, as a species, we’ve conquered nautical, aerial, and even spatial movement. But none has yet been summed up to something as immediate, and as epitomized as the accel’ pedal.
A trigger for the feet.

The exoskeleton we ride in as a glass-coated iridescent second-skin, made us cyborgs ahead of time.
Surely polarized, it would yet be difficult to contest the automobiles’ resiliency. Plagued by endless traffic jams, nerve-racking ecological imprints, yearly death tolls, markers of urban planning failure; cars still remain subcultures expression vessels, technological marvels, and in a marketed historical way, a certain conception of freedom. 

But where does such freedom end when autonomy of cars could translate in removing agency of the driver? Without agency, where’s the power of decision in that of movement? It’s only a matter of time before the automobile truly lives up to its name, and moves - on its own.
In many regards autonomy is an ambivalent perspective, being capable of, and amounting to loss of control. 

Remember? Autobild and its Dauertest, cars photographed entirely unbuilt, part by part, with every single element aligned on the ground in a knolling fashion. Everything was, with time and effort, dismountable, dismantlable, cleanable, replaceable, accessible.
It’s not a requiem to nostalgia, as rust unequivocally signals us that what is past is already decaying, but a rather simple idea: Human-scale.

What has been assembled by a human could be disassembled by one.

As production processes are rethought, reorganized, and mechanized, very little organic input is required in outputting a chassis. Rotating, melting, rotating, transporting. Gigapresses and robotic cranes drill, screw, connect. The assembly-line ballet is executed with unfathomable precision. And with it, we distance ourselves from access. The industry that brought us fordism a century ago is now set to complete its prophetic cycle, in a manner that could not be more telling of the paradigm of human labor’s obsolescence. 

There is undeniable beauty in observing those mechanical arms putting together the cars of tomorrow, just as there is undoubtable fear and brutality emanating out of it.
Right to repair is a fragile idea. As vehicles of the past bid their last farewell, it’s not only gasoline that we’re leaving behind when tilting the driver’s seat back at an angle, relaxing, setting ourselves for the ultimate bliss in a sea of comfort and a bitter after-taste, pushing once and for all the button of absolute disengagement: cruise control, where control is undeniable, but who is taking it? and who is giving it up? is a more uncertain idea.