Private Road 2020
16 min

Private Road is an animation inspired by a 1965 Ford Lincoln “Continental” print advert. Set amid a North American forest and conspicuously displaying a “Private Road” signpost, the animation begins within this setting, but without the original car and the white upper-class woman that are the focus of the commercial. The only trace of this white privilege is the “Private Road” sign, signaling that the land is privately owned, like the car. The aspiration for the American Dream of property ownership is disrupted by the animation moving further and further into the North American forest, which slowly morphs into a tropical rainforest akin to the Brazilian Amazon. The geographies that were materially connected by Ford’s global production line but were ideologically disconnected in Ford’s commercial imagery, are here carefully and mysteriously re-connected by means of digital animation technology. The linear assembly line of the mechanical past becomes digitally reconfigured through post-Fordist networks that obscure global labor relationships and the material landscapes of which they are physically made. Through this mesmerizing visual continuum, the animation attempts to reverses the ideological imaginary of private property ownership seen in Ford’s commercials, pointing at the necessary absences — of class, race, and ecology — that are required to uphold the quintessential images of the American Dream. It suggests that this kind of accumulation and consumer production (in this case, of cars) has long relied on consuming other geographies and peoples.

Source: Ford Lincoln “Continental” print advert, 1965

Image courtesy of the artist