COLL.EO, YOU'RE IN A WONDERFUL COUNTRY, 2016 Installation shot.
"The popular racing game Forza Horizon 2 (2014) is set in a “realistic” world: a virtual replica of Northern Italian charming small towns, picturesque seaside villages, and rural landscapes. But there is something missing: roadside trash. This enormous territory is inexplicably devoid of empty plastic bottles, cigarette packs, beer cans, cigarette butts, and used condoms. To illustrate this appalling aporia, we drove at extreme low speed on the roads leading to the fictitious town of Castelletto. We scrutinized the road shoulder, inch by inch, but we could not find any sign of litter. This surprising lack of debris generates a powerful cognitive dissonance: as anybody who lives and drives in Italy knows, the roadsides of the Belpaese are replete with junk that accumulates overtime, creating a peculiar kind of attraction (1).
Roadside trash is a byproduct of the automobile. As Marshall McLuhan wrote in Understanding Media, each medium creates a new environment. The medium of the car mostly produces trashcapes. In other words, rubbish is the primary effect of the car, alongside the Iraq War, neocolonialism, and Big Oil sponsoring Art Museums. Additionally, the millions of plastic bottles that drivers throw carelessly outside of the car windows are themselves a byproduct of the petroleum industry: thus, Big Oil controls every aspect of the vicious circle, from smog to trash.
By refusing to address the issue of waste, Forza Horizon 2 - like its predecessor - is an utter and complete failure. Its glaring omission - the discarded objects on the side of the road - compromises the realistic, immersive effect promised by the simulation. In our installation, a video plays on a TV screen sitting on a carpet of artificial grass, itself a byproduct of the oil industry and another recognizable sign of the anthropocene." (COLL.EO, Read the full text here)