Crush represented my second ever visit to a drive-through carwash but the two experiences could not have been more different. The first was rushed, tedious and obligatory while Crush was a beautiful experience from start to finish that felt all to brief. It took something ordinary, unremarkable and purely functional and transformed it into a moving, immersive experience that was a feast for the senses.
The only initial sign that you’re in the right place is the group of fluorescent orange clad attendants waiting at the entrance. Even after you’ve been guided to the appointed waiting spot and you’re watching the person in front go through it still just seemed like any ordinary carwash. In fact disclosing what happens next may rob any prospective punters of their full allotment of joy. So if what you’ve read thus far has been sufficient to make you go than stop here and return once you’ve gone. For those who don’t mind a bit of a spoiler, what follows is an extraordinary meditative journey, guided by one of the aforementioned orange clad attendants.
The simplicity of Crush is what makes it so effective. A single light is the only external visual enhancement and once you enter the carwash, you need only tune in your radio, sit back and enjoy the goose-pimpling soundtrack. And what a sound experience it is. Tactile vibrations, sumptuous tones and calibration with the carwash machinery that would illicit the begrudging approval of a German train conductor.
That solitary light manages to do an awful lot. It creates subtle waves and rounded shapes who race to meet their shadows at the base of the windscreen. It brings back memories of headlights that shoot past on long night drives or an orange sun sinking on the horizon ahead. It manages to capture the melancholy of watching rain trail down glass almost more effectively than the real thing and once complete, raise your spirits once more.
Shmaltzy car adverts always talk about how a car can make a journey something special but in the narrow minds of any buzzword spewing ad-exec that always refers to the external associations or performance attributes of a car. Vanity in other words. In Crush you find what they could only dream of, without moving an inch. On a slightly deeper level. It makes you think about your relationship with objects, the experiences you’ve had, the experiences you hope you will have and the one you wish you hadn’t. A lot of our lives happen in cars but we rarely take the time to think about it in our manic rushing from A to B. Crush does this and so much more. It’s a wonderful micro-journey that will leave you looking eagerly forward to the road ahead.
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
by Sam Routledge & Dylan Sheridan
Festival of Live art
1 – 8 March
Expresso Car Wash, 246 Nicholson St Fitzroy