Empire Drive-In: Art and Cinema Repurposed

(released 10/15/2013)

Empire Drive-In is running through this Sunday, October 20, 2013. Located in a parking lot behind the New York Hall of Science, this Corona neighborhood artistic installation has a quirky upcycle theme. The lot is full of old cars from the last twenty years abandoned, collectively making up the seating for you to choose your favorite viewing vantage point. A low-power FM broadcast in the vehicles feature a sound program about cars and manufacturing curated by Ann Heppermann.  A slideshow of late industrial images by photographer Stephen Mallon begins each nightly program.

New York artists Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark, designed Empire Drive-in. Chandler and Stark built the project in collaboration with several other artists and craftspeople. The team looks for public and private space to use previously consumed materials to repurpose for present culture.  Everything you will find at the drive-in has been repurposed.  Even the 40 foot screen is made of salvaged wood.

When preparing the cars for the drive-in, the narrative of each car's former owners began to form. The pieces found in the junk cars, ranging from letters, shopping lists, cards, photos, and diaries, give life to perceived dead vacant spaces. The artists encourage you to explore the nostalgia, use the space as your own in and around the cars, go car to car, listen for sound differences among vehicles, sit on them, and in them. Ask yourself, "Why do we continue to be fascinated by cinema? Cars? The dynamics of shared experiences? What is public vs. private space?"

This Wednesday, October 16, the theme is Youth Media Night with contributions from the New York area. Thursday is billed as Galactic Drive-In, an interactive space adventure. "Prior spaceflight experience not required; spacesuit provided." states the event's website.  Friday night has a bike theme and since the cars are already there, you are encouraged to ride your bike to the evening's activity and watch bike related content anchored by 1980's film Breaking Away.  Saturday night will be full sensory with handmade films, combined with live scores, narration and foley.  See shorts that are new and classics starring Chaplin alike in this Saturday night line-up. Sunday concludes with films characterizing the factory workers, neighborhoods, and jobs that are becoming extinct amongst our "use and discard" society.

Participation in this temporary cultural exhibit is ticketed and can be obtained by going to the Empire Drive-In schedule page at empiredrivein.com.

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