Don’t Break Down

Don’t Break Down, 2006

Sound, 7.09 minutes

Don’t Break Down (clip)

Using sound, voice and text in conjunction with the specific site of the car, Don’t Break Down raises questions around the intersection of such mundane daily routines as driving and the unavoidable presence of human emotions within those routines. Focusing on how this reoccurring intersection affects the ways we move through our daily lives.

In the visual portion of Don’t Break Down the front windshield of the car reads MAKE NO MISTAKE in bold red vinyl letters.  This idiom acts as a humorous yet sincere reminder to be a cautious driver, a sentiment furthered by the dented hood and sunken right headlight, blemishes on an otherwise pristine new car.  In bold yellow text the back window reads, TAKE ME BY SURPRISE!  This acts as a comical plea for an event out of the ordinary to occur, begging for relief from the monotony of daily routine and congested traffic. However, depending on interpretation, the text can come dangerously close to inviting a fender bender.

The sound piece portion is designed for broadcast on the car stereo with the listener seated within the car. The structure of incremental sounds native to the auto, such as turn signals, no seatbelt dings, etc., is used in combination with the direct address of second person narration to organize a series of spoken story fragments around both the emotional and physical circumstances of mistakes, accidents, surprises, and monotony.