Car Boys

Podcast (Dutch)

The A1 Car Boys

Eastern European car traders travel weekly on the highway A1 from Russia to the Netherlands to buy second-hand cars. They are easy to spot every Monday evening. Vans with the BY sign and an empty car trailer. Inside the vans men with militairy hair cuts and a money belt around their neck, who pay for the two day ride. They buy a car on Tuesday morning on the car market to drive it back to the East. Spending four to five days a week driving the A1, these guys can be considered Car Boys, modern cowboys herding second hand cars.

Selling a car in Minsk

Parkscapes A1 was a collaboration of the Province of Overijssel, Rijkswaterstaat and three art institutes Kunstenlab, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim and Kunstcentrum Hengelo to explore new visions in highway design by artists. G.A.N.G. was invited to make a vision and reconized the Car Boys as the pioneers of the emerging highway culture. Together with Rob Groot Zevert, Smets joined a group of Belarusian car traders to learn about their lives on the road.

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Orthodox Church Parking Vundelaar

The kick-off manifestation was in the fall of 2006 and consisted of five temporary art works on parking lots along the A1. G.A.N.G. created a Russian rest area on the Vundelaar, where the car boys could spend the night without being chased by the highway patrol and do their prayers in a specially designed Orthodox chapel. The Dutch Orthodox Church blessed the soil to make it a temporary holy ground. Archpriest Theodore van de Voort organised a church ceremony every Monday evening when the Car Boys enter the Netherlands.

The Orthodox chapel was a prototype for a exchange of resting area’s between European countries. By apointing every resting area to an other country the highway would become the intergration accelerator of the European Union.

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Location Highway A1 Utrecht – Minks (Belarus)

Period 2006

Team Melle Smets, Rob Groot Zevert

Commisioned by Kunstcentrum Hengelo, Kunstenlab, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim
Funding Provincie Overijssel
Sponsor Tauw advies- en ingenieursbureau
In collaboration with Ekaterina Mitichkina (translator), Archpriest Theodoor van der Voort (inauguration chapel)
Special Thanks Svetlana (catering), Vazzek (contact person Minsk), Cees Elzenga (photographer)