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"A project eight years in the making, the Trabantimino serves as a document of a series of negotiations and concessions between its two sources. On the one hand, the Trabant represents the late Socialist economy of the former East Germany, while the El Camino emblemizes American high capitalist systems of production. The resultant object, like the lowrider culture to which it pays homage, seems to revel in its flashiness, extending and retracting on its hydraulic haunches—practically grinning through the chrome of its grill."
––– Chad Alligood, Liz Cohen and the Look of Labor, David Klein Gallery, 2012
As I built the Trabantimino, I became the bikini model that would represent it. That effort resulted in
three bodies of photographic work: BODYWORK, Zwickau Routine, and Along the River Road.
Each body of work documents the location of the car, its state of construction, and the characters
who surround it.
BODYWORK documents the several years I spent building the Trabantimino as an apprentice at
Elwood Bodyworks. Bill Cherry, my mentor, let me use his tools. He and the other guys at the
shop constantly reminded me of the 5 P's: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
The images from Zwickau Routine were shot at the former Trabant factory in once East Germany.
30,000 workers built 3 million cars over a 30 year period. Their jobs and the Trabant fell with the
Along the River Road documents the Trabantimino during its test drive in Texas along the Rio
Grande. The hydraulic technology that powers the transformation of the Trabantimino is borrowed
from the lowriding cultures of the southwest.
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