In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Exit Art organized AUTOTOPIA: Cars for a Better Tomorrow, an exhibition that focused on eco-friendly cars. This show, a project of SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics), investigated the history and future of alternative transportation in connection with political and environmental factors that revolutionized the methods and technologies of transit.

The first electric car, made over 100 years ago, was invented soon after the combustion engine vehicle as a new mode of transportation. Today, electric cars are made to enhance our lives – through the integration of digital communication systems – and improve our future, by providing a solution to our energy crisis. Wireless Internet allows cars to connect and share data on traffic patterns, intelligently coordinating movements and keeping drivers connected to social networks. The reinvention of the automobile, and the infrastructures that make it possible, will not be easy – but it will be essential.

This exhibition coincided with Earth Day, and was organized concurrently with the CO2 E-Race, the culminating event of New York City’s Earth Day celebration. For more information on Earth Day New York, visit Initiated in 2008, the CO2 E-Race (A Race for Climate Awareness) increases public awareness of global climate changes using CO2-friendly cars as a way to spread the message. The New York E-Race is a parade of eco-friendly cars through the streets of Manhattan; connected to GPS devices, their route can be tracked online and on the Toshiba jumbo screen in Times Square. The “E” shape formed by the parade draws attention to Earth Day and the electric car as the future of transportation, encouraging the public to “erase” climate change.

Organized by Herb Tam, Associate Curator, Lauren Rosati, Assistant Curator and curatorial interns Shifra Goldenberg, Julie Hanson, Yulia Khaitov, Centa Petersen, Jackie Siemon, Candice Strongwater, Frances Wilkinson, Margarita Yong Way, Terra Zenteno and Ying Zhu.


Saturday, April 23, 2011 / 12-6pm

Following the CO2 E- Race, Exit Art exhibited several participating electric and alternative energy cars in a showcase format. Tesla Motors showed an electric, zero-emissions Orange Roadster, which gets 245 miles per charge and goes from 0 to 60mph in 3.7 seconds. Novozymes exhibited a bio-fuel vehicle, which turned agricultural enzymes into energy. Li-ion Motors showed the Inizio, the world’s fastest all-electric car. A converted electric DeLorean was also on view.

2pm: Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen, the organizer of the CO2 E-Race, gave a brief talk about the origins of the project and the environmental issues it sought to address.

ABOUT SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics)

SEA was a unique endeavor that presented a diverse multimedia exhibition program and permanent archive of artworks that addressed social and environmental concerns. SEA assembled artists, activists, scientists and scholars to address environmental issues through presentations of visual art, performances, panels and lecture series that communicated international activities concerning environmental and social activism. SEA occupied a permanent space in Exit Underground, a 3000 square-foot, multi-media performance, film and exhibition venue underneath Exit Art’s main gallery space. Central to SEA’s mission was to provide a vehicle through which the public could be made aware of socially- and environmentally-engaged work, and to provide a forum for collaboration between artists, scientists, activists, scholars and the public. SEA functioned as an initiative where individuals could join together in dialogue about issues that affected our daily lives.