Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Work from the series Twilight Switch.
“The photo series Twilight Switch (2006) is Swiss artist duo Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs’ witty riff on the tradition of documenting the road trip. Inspired by numerous books, songs and movies, the series specifically focuses on the vast landscape of the continental United States. With referencing the work of master photographers Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Stephen Shore, and Joel Sternfeld, all of whom documented their travels across the country, Onorato & Krebs adopt a more whimsical approach toward this American tradition of being on the road.
According to the artists Twilight Switch is:
…about comparing the America we see with our own eyes with the mystical Land we have seen through the eyes of others. It’s about traveling a country we already know without ever having been there. The expectation is not to prove ourselves wrong. Every visual temptation we encounter is linked to a memory. The visual output of the last 50 years is so strong we feel unable to take pictures without notorious repetition. It’s like trying to write a love song knowing that every great love song has already been written.
What was surprising was the feeling of being totally lost. And the loneliness of the great wide open. In the end, what led to the series of pictures was not the knowledge of what has been done before. It was the feeling we carried while moving forward. The irrational fear of being stalked by a certain pattern of streets, landscapes, and consumerist architecture.
After returning to New York, Nico Krebs wrote an email to a friend on the West Coast:
After an endless drive we finally arrived to New York last night. The road keeps going inside my head, but I will probably be cured in a couple of days. It was really quite an amazing time. 4 days of 8-hour driving passing 100 trillion Golden Arches, Super 8 Motels, Burger Kings, Pizzahuts, Wal-Marts, Steak’n’Shakes, and all these screaming roadside temptations. America, the endless strip mall. And even all the big cities we passed looked the same from the Interstate and we kept asking ourselves if we were trapped in the Twilight Zone, driving the same 600 miles each day…” – Elna Svenle, New York, June 2005