Jem Finer b. 1955
Autodestruct (1998 & 2000)
In 1998, as part of a show in Marseille, Marseille en Juin, I performed Autodestruct I, in which I sanded the paint of my car, over the course of 2 days, accompanied by a selection of music collected and created to accompany the din of a sanding disc on metal. A radical cleaning through a reverse form of painting, the car's body was transformed from a mundane paint job into to a shining thing of beauty, though one that came at the expense of it's inevitable decay. Entropy accelerated.
Initially the idea was to invite interventions to hasten the onset of rust and end up with a car with an all over oxidised patina - a dusty, rusty orange. But having stripped the car down I became protective about the beauty of it's precarious new finish. Driving around, first in Marseille and then through France and England, the car polarised opinion, reactions ranging from horror to glee.
Autodestruct II and Autodestruct III followed in 1999 and 2000 respectively. The film documents the first and third performances. While the first featured my own music the third invited people to make their own responses, in any medium. Marcia Farquhar, who suggested the title Autodestruct in the first place, talked about an encounter with Gustav Metzger, the true father of auto destructive art, while other contributors played music, took photographs (Darryl Hunt's polaroids are seen in the back window of the car) and made films (thanks to Richard Coldman for the use of his footage).
Film - Richard Coleman and Dorian McFarland. Edited by Jem Finer.