Phil Collins: AUTO-KINO!, installation shot, 2010, photo: Jens Ziehe, image held here
Sit back, relax and enjoy the movie – even if it is a more obscure strand of 1960’s avant-garde German cinema than one is generally accustomed to. This is the premise behind Auto-Kino!, a drive-in cinema showing a variety of experimental film accompanied by the usual movie stalwarts of popcorn, soft drinks and comfortable chairs. Dreamt up by British artist Phil Collins and installed in Berlin’s Temporäre Kunsthalle. Auto-Kino! brings a lively, upstart energy to Berlin’s stately Schlossplatz.
An array of 1980’s Audis, boxy Mercedes and beaten-up VW Golfs greeted us as we entered the cinema. All were bathed in seedy red light recalling those early characterisations of the drive-ins as “passion pits.” We sought our car, differentiated from the others by number plate. Something about the setting made us feel like we had never been in a car before, or at least not in circumstances like this. Our fellow movie-goers clutched brown paper bags containing beer, while others investigated the options in the vending machine. As we eased into our outmoded BMW, adjusting the antiquated seats, the screen kicked into life. We soon realised that the audio was intended to be broadcast through the radio, from which only a low hum could be heard. We spent some time fiddling with the frequency but a quick glance in the rearview mirror confirmed that the radios in the others cars were also kaput.
Phil Collins: AUTO-KINO!, installation shot, 2010, video still: The Raspberry Reich, Bruce LaBruce (2004), photo: Jens Ziehe, image held here