Crash Room

Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon

Installation, voitures cassées, projections vidéo, fumigènes, 5 x 5 m.


Fragments of wrecked bodies, engine debris and windshield remnants form a shelter, a small shack of broken cars into which the visitor enters. Comfortably installed on car seats, he watches videos projected on the walls: collisions in GTA, ritual car throwing shows, crash tests, obstacle detection, intelligent airbag simulations...

Crash Room is a cenotaph to the universe of the polluting and dangerous car-machine-engine explosion, to bury it, to celebrate its disappearance, or to regret it.

It is a monument to the myth of the accident, to the roads populated by pile-ups, collisions, injured people and corpses... until the crashed body arouses this ambivalent desire of body to body with the machine, pushed to a paroxysm in James Graham Ballard's novel Crash, in which the crashed bodies become metallic themselves, the human merging with his vehicle.

Olivier Peyricot inside *Crash Room*

Today, it is through the simulation of all possible dangers that manufacturers seek to make the automatic car increasingly safe and reassuring. Combined with software, GPS and automatic navigation, it enters the digitalization of the world's representations. Digital technology seeks to transform the car into a digital artifact driven by algorithms, coupled with the network and maps in real time, at the crossroads of networks and automation. It navigates both in the map and in reality, pretends to make the accident disappear, to make it impossible.

Today, the automobile promises to welcome us in soft airbags, ergonomic seats, to spare the air we breathe, to optimize our trips, to avoid accidents thanks to autonomous driving. But the installation Crash Room reveals that violence has not disappeared for all that.

brainstorming, workshop École supérieure d’art et design de Saint-Étienne et de la Cité du design
ZF Demonstrates External Airbag Designed For Side Impact Scenarios
Car Falling Down Stairs With Dummy -
HOR dummy after a simulated frontal crash test, University of Virginia, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2014


Auto fiction exhibition, Cité du design, Saint-Étienne 2022, 6 april - 31 july 2022

École supérieure d’art et design de Saint-Étienne et de la Cité du design, 2019


Concept : Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon

Réalisation : Berta Ballestin, Fabiola Bellon, Ines Besson, Maéva Borg, Salome De Bonis, Stéphane Degoutin, Lucia Demaimay, Niki Ekhtiari, Arthur Euvrard, Victoire Felisse, Matthias Hu, Camille Labourier, Eugénie Mantilleri, Clarisse Ramnoux, Colin Riccobene, Gwenola Wagon

Production : Esadse pour l'exposition "Auto fiction", Saint-Étienne 2022

Thanks to Olivier Lellouche et Olivier Peyricot