Sunday, March 13, 2011

Liz Cohen: Bodywork

Trainer (Bodywork)
Bodywork Hood
Air Gun ("Bodywork")
The Gender Turntable, Fargfabriken ("Bodywork")

In this brilliant project, Liz Cohen used gears and hydraulics to transform an East German 1987 Trabant into a 1973 Chevrolet El Camino. My grandmother used to drive a Trabant in Communist Poland, and I can assure you, that it took no small feet to transform this plastic-bodied, 26 horsepower monstrosity. NO JOKE 26 horsepower!!! My mother used to drive a 30 horsepower Fiat, and she still likens the experience to driving a vacuum cleaner.
Cohen now teaches at Cranbrook, although I unfortunately did not get to meet her, because she came in the year I left. I did catch her lecture about three years ago, which was incredibly inspiring.
When she first began working in the body shop, she encountered a lot of misogyny, because she knew so little about cars and obviously because of her gender. After a while she became the most knowledgeable mechanic at the shop, which earned her the respect from all the other mechanics who hadn't taken her seriously at first.
Aside from transforming a lemon into a hotrod, Cohen also hired a personal trainer and began dieting in order to become a bikini model.
The end result is an incredibly witty and elaborate performance that touches on gender, perseverance, as well as dreaming the impossible dream and making it come true.

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