Review / The ANTI-CAB
The ANTI-CAB - Berlin Art We(a)k - An Awesome Tragedy
by Marenka Krasomil
I ordered the ANTI-CAB on Thursday afternoon right after the opening of abc –art berlin contemporary. At the time the ANTI-CAB was supposed to pick me up, I got a call from the ANTI-CAB operator, who informed me about a sudden breakdown of the cab. My ride was automatically cancelled and postponed for an indefinite time period. As the Berlin Art Week dictates a dense schedule by it’s private views, openings and events, I was unexpectedly deposed from the flow, irritated by the sudden condition of the seemingly never ending cycle. As contemporary lifestyle precepts to make the most out of time, using every bit of it to increase potentials, this falling out of the rhythm for a second or two gave an insight into almost forgotten feelings of boredom. Not taking part in the ANTI-CAB performance triggered thoughts of potentialities of refusal. Spinning this idea further, it turned into a freedom of not taking part – a joy of missing out.
Image by Team Anti-Cab
Never the less my ride was postponed to Sunday afternoon. On the last day of the Berlin Art Week I got this text message: “We pick you up where you at. ... Yours truly the ANTI-CAB team”.
I entered the cab, sank into the comfortable seats of the ANTI-CAB and was welcomed with a love song. Leaning back and looking into the sky through the windows above, I started to relax from the busy days. Equipped with sunglasses and headsets Balz Isler aka Badtrip and Justin Francis Kennedy aka Cameltoe were riding the ANTI-CAB performing the "shy menu", out of the "pop-u-list" and the "anti-social menu" that was available with too spiced options of "cheesy-, and tropical flavours" or "emotional-, tragic-," or "crew souse".
Image by Team Anti-Cab
In this encapsulated space of the ANTI-CAB we moved through the public space of the streets of Berlin, maneuvering through Mitte, passing the Brandenburger Tor heading east. I was asked to fill out the gaps in a form capturing some of the impressions of this ephemeral ride. While Badtrip indicated directions Cameltoe transformed the impressions of the current moments into verbal content, melody and rhythm. While passing by the Positions art fair and the people queuing in front of the Berghain on a Sunday afternoon my gap text was turned into a song and fed into the performance. The ANTI-CAB was ready for new passengers opening the sliding door at the side taking up new impulses from the outside. Every ride was directed by the mood, engagement and withdrawal the passengers brought into the car and flavored by ingredients of the menu.
Heading out to Prenzlauer Berg for a meeting and passing through the Auguststrasse the "anti-social menu" stirred up the surrounding space with the drivers screaming claims out of the open windows while Dark Metal music hummed from the loudspeakers. Passengers got irritated, some seemed annoyed, others confused or interested, everyone immediately showed some reactions. In front of KW two young strangers got on board of the ANTI-CAB. Directly drowning out the other passengers filled the cab with their voices, energy and movement, seemingly not knowing what they were participating in. As their destination was just down the street the ride was short and as quickly as they entered as quickly they jumped out again a few minutes later after paying the driver with whatever they wanted to give in exchange. The performance was literally stressing the anti in the title, appearing as a semi-public car, using alternative currencies, not aiming for a destination instead taking the ride as its direction, it also acted against the capitalist idea of efficiency. While the ANTI-CAB was passing through the streets of Berlin it’s nexus was the exchange and dialogue between it’s passengers, never knowing who calls next, who conquers the intimate space, where to go and what to expect.
Image by Team Anti-Cab
The ANTI-CAB is claiming a space outside the art institutions including a public rather than an audience, creating space for engagement, facing struggles and shifting boundaries. The ANTI-CAB questions what it means to be acting inside of the public space that way too often is seemingly given within the context of democracy. The ANTI-CAB is a self-fulfilling prophecy – a sweet and awesome tragedy.
Video by Team Anti-Cab