M.I.U. I - Environment Aid
Materials: Reconditioned military Red Cross ambulance, adhesive digital photograph, adhesive lettering
Dimensions: 490x200x260cm (3000kg)
Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta Antarctica, p132-133 & 140, Electa Italy
Exhibition history: 2001 G8 Environment Summit; 2001 Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Munster, Germany; 2003 Kapp Helder, Den Helder, Holland; 2008 Hangar Bicocca Milano; Galleria Continua Le Moulin, France
Courtesy: Collection of the artists
Since 2001 the artists have made a series of M.I.U. (Mobile Intervention Units): industrial vehicles or ex-military Saviem lorries or Red Cross ambulances converted into first aid and assistance units for civilian populations. These are multifunctional, useful tools for emergencies, outfitted with different types of equipment for the different situations with which people may have to cope: from water filtering systems to temporary dormitories. The mobile unit is a basic module of a self-sufficient structure; each vehicle is a housing unit capable of facilitating mobility and autonomy of individuals. Often positioned in urban contexts, the vehicles converted and transformed by the artists are designed to encourage interaction and active participation of the inhabitants. Like open infrastructures, the mobile units become places of exchange to facilitate dialogue and interaction among persons, while generating new social spaces and new relations. The outer surfaces of the vehicles bear phrases, quotations or images regarding the mobility of those who are forced to emigrate for survival. The first series of these works was made at the time of the G8 environmental summit held in 2001 in Trieste, where two ambulances confronted each other: one with images of human suffering and the other environmental damage, demonstrating that the two issues are now inseparable.