Post-apocalytic drive-in movies

25 wrecked cars and a 40-foot screen constructed of salvaged wood, featuring a series of cult classic film screenings.

By Matthew Tyas | Last updated 27 July 2012

Share this story

For the first time in Europe, Brooklyn artists Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark will present their acclaimed large-scale, post-apocalyptic movie theatre experience Empire Drive-In as part of Abandon Normal Devices Festival 2012.

Drive in movie

The extraordinary multi-media installation will be made from 25 wrecked cars and a 40-foot screen constructed of salvaged wood, featuring a specially programmed series of cult classic film screenings (Mad Max II – Road Warrior, RoboCop), live soundtracks and performances. Audiences can climb in and out of the scrap cars to watch films projected on the big screen, with low-power radio transmitting stereo audio directly to each vehicle. Movie-goers will also find snacks at the confection stand and amusement in the playground.

Created in collaboration with a dozen other artists and craftspeople, Empire Drive-in was first built on-site in San Jose, America, over a two-week period, symbolic of the once thriving drive- in industry in the United States. The American drive-in theatre peaked in popularity in the late 1950s and early ’60s, concurrent with the domination of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System and cheap, plentiful gasoline. The prosperous industry has faded since then, and only 381 drive-ins remain active in the United States today, eradicated by strip malls and condos more profitable for large swaths of parking lot than Friday-night movie theatres.

Every day, Wed 29 – Fri 31 August 2012, 12:00 – 16:00, audiences will have access to the installation to experience sonic car environments with work from artists Roberto Carlos Lange (NY), Sxip Shirey (NY), Resonance 104.4fm (UK) and Susie Honeyman ((Mekons, Echo City, Little Sparta, UK). The night sky will be lit by a specially programmed series of film screenings and live soundtracks, including Empire Shorts, a collection of short films from artists who navigate landscapes in lyrical and bold ways. From the demolitions of cities to boats built from debris, these reflections on contemporary ruin feature Gordon Matta Clark (USA) Blu (Italy) John Smith (UK): Martha Colburn (USA) Lee Kern (UK) Jem Cohen (USA and Glory at Sea by Zeitlin/Court 13 (USA), the creators behind this year’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Empire Drive-In Film Programme 29 – 31 August 2012
WEDNESDAY 29 AUGUST Opening night
Wed 29 Aug, 20:00-21:00
FREE, booking required –

Wed 29 Aug, 21:30 – 24:00
£7, booking required – Dir Paul Verhoeven/ US 1987/ 18/ 102 mins
In a dystopic, crime ridden Detroit, a newly transfered police officer is remade into an indestructible cybernetic cop after being dismembered by a gang of thugs in an abandoned warehouse. Reborn as RoboCop, he is programmed to serve and protect the citizens of Detroit and eliminate the rampant crime in the city streets so that a massive citywide reconstruction project can get under way. But once he has completed his task, he sets his sights on the corruption inside Omni Consumer Products – the corporation that created him.
Preceded by a screening of the short film Detroit Lives. Estimated start time of feature 22:00.

Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then With live soundtrack
Thu 30 Aug, 21:30 – 24:00
£7, booking required –
Dir Brent Green / US 2010 / 71mins
Leonard and Mary meet in a car crash. They fall instantly in love, and live happily ever after…until Mary gets sick. Desperate to save her, Leonard decides that if he builds a house for Mary, it will heal her. Inspired by the real actions of the eccentric Leonard Wood, filmmaker Brent Green brings to life this love story like no other in his first feature-length film. Shot entirely on the full-scale town he built in his backyard, Green combines animation, stop- motion and live-action in an ethereal opus to lovers and tinkerers everywhere.
Preceded by the Empire Shorts programme (30mins). Estimated start time of feature 22.30.

Mad Max II – Road Warrior
Fri 31 Aug, 21:30 – 24:00
£7, booking required –
Dir George Miller /Aus 1981/ 18/ 95mins
Join us in the post apocalyptic wasteland for a night of gasoline guzzlers and bicycle shenanigans.The second part of George Miller’s post apocalyptic trilogy has become a turbo charged cult myth. In the post apocalyptic Australian wasteland, cyncial drifter Max (Mel Gibson) rediscovers a sliver of his shattered humanity, when he helps an embattled colony of pioneers fight off bandits who are after that most precious of commodities: ‘guzzline’. With its final stirring images, Road Warrior transcends its genre (whatever that may be: science fiction? Road movie? Western?) to become something timeless.

Preceded by short films (45mins) and special guest interventions from Tranachy. Estimated start time of feature 22.15
AND Festival was established in 2009, as a unique partnership between Cornerhouse, FACT and folly. AND has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK. AND Festival is part of WE PLAY, the North West cultural legacy programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. AND is supported by the National Lottery through the BFI and Creative England. AND Festival is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Exhibitions Gallery