As a child of the suburbs, memories of my life seem to be split 50/50 with time spent looking out a car's window at the landscape sliding by. Car culture throughout the world has changed the way we see our surroundings and as a child my observations of highway overpasses, tunnels, drainage ditches and signage as landmarks were imprinted into my consciousness in strong fashion. That imprinting quadrupled when I became a skateboarder and I would spend a few fleeting moments studying the roadside ditches for potential as terrain to skate while flying by at 60 mph in whatever car I happened to be in. Much of the best terrain for my first passion of skating was found in
Faure's auto landscape is
These roadways cut huge swaths through the land whose benefit is connection of place and where excessive land appropriation is a consequence. This "good with the bad" was echoed in the statements of a Swiss government minister who remarked, "[These projects] will form great furrows in the countenance of our native soil and profoundly modify vast areas of it." This new order is pictured through Faure's vision through landscape photographs of the surroundings adapting to the often violent change that is called upon out of "need."
Using a large format camera and color film Faure fills Autoland with 211 photographs and I see the extreme amount of work presented in proportion to the frequency at which we all experience these landscapes. Excessive as it may be I don't find Autoland many images that do not seem worthy of being present.
The other reasons I recommend this book are because unlike many of SCALO's other offerings, Autoland is superb in its design and the type of materials used. The paper is a thin stock with a slight texture that adds to the softness of Faure's color palette. The coverboards are debossed with line drawings from two of Faure's photos and if you are lucky, your copy will come with the belly-band that covers the bottom half of the cover. Martin Heller contributes a fine essay that appears at the end of the book.The American highway used to conjure romanticized dreams of "going west" and now nausea as the landscape has turned into endless strip malls and big box stores - landscapes that do not attract your want to look but seem to repel.