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MFA student Chris Silva is currently working on his thesis project, 24 Hours of Le Mans, a Kickstarter-funded sculptural installation and performance created with the U.K.-based artist Benedict Radcliffe. The project centers on a full-scale 3D wire frame racecar modeled after the 2010 Peugeot 908, equipped with a fully functioning steering wheel, pedals and transmission shifter. The work will be mounted in the UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum with sound and a timer while Silva, dressed in a full race suit and helmet, drives the stationary vehicle for 24 hours. This simulates the time scale of the world’s oldest endurance racing competition established in 1923 at Le Mans, France. Silva will have an assistant recording the lap times displayed within the virtual environment, which is based on the video game Gran Turismo 5.
“My work is concerned with digital to physical translations, and how those translations manifest themselves in the making of visual experience,” said Silva. “Currently art is experiencing a rupture between the world of the digital and the physical and this project is aimed to land somewhere in between.”
The project also deals with issues of masculinity and endurance, and the distance between real world performance and virtual participation. Silva revealed that other influences include the 1991 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo, Gran Turismo on the original PlayStation, the smell of gasoline and the sounds of blow-off valves.
24 Hours of Le Mans is seeking funding through kickstarter.com for only a few more days and needs the help of art, car and video game enthusiasts to get it completed. Once complete, the work will be up in the MFA graduate exhibition in the AD&A Museum this spring.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of February 7th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.