[Audio Notes] Making the Car Tent

Want to know how the Car Tent was made? Listen to me in the studio welding, grinding, cutting, locking, sewing and stretching it into existence.





[MIG welding noises]

My name is Dan McCabe and I am a visual artist based in Fremantle, Western Australia. For the 2016 Next Wave Festival in Melbourne I am making a custom camping tent and I will live in this tent for the duration of the festival, which is about 3 weeks. The project is called Shadows on the hill.

[rasp grinding against metal, more MIG welding]

This audio track is made up of a few recordings from the different stages of the build, which took about 3 months to complete from start to finish.

Unlike your average camping tent that you might take on a weekend away or escape to the bush with, my tent is going to look like a late 80s station wagon. A real boxy, white Mitsubishi Magna.

[MIG welder warming up]

The tent will be fully collapsable like a normal camping tent, and it will essentially be made up of a bunch of aluminium poles and printed fabric outer shell. The plan is to set it up and live in it at about 6 different sites around Inner Melbourne.

[MIG welding noises, aluminium pole dropping on the ground, rasp grinding against metal]

At the moment I am making the aluminium frame and learning how to weld. The aluminium tubing, about 25mm in diameter, will make up the skeleton of the car tent. And luckily I have an angle grinder with me to clean it up.

[Angle grinder starting up and cutting away excess aluminium]

So its starting to look like a car now which is a big relief. It has been just a pile of poles on the ground for quite a while, so its nice to weld it all together.

I am about to cut up the metal frame into smaller lengths and the main reason is so I can transport it, and carry it with me. So cutting it into smaller lengths so I can fit it in a bag. I will be using these push pin buttons so when it is put back together the frame will pretty much have the same shape.

[Hacksaw cutting through aluminium tube and dropping to the ground. Ruffling through a post bag and the swish of fabric as it is taken out]

Just picked up the fabric from the printers and it is looking pretty good. Since the car tent is to scale with a real sized car I  had to order quite a bit of fabric, about 21m in total.

[Scissors cutting through fabric]

So what I am going to do now is stitch the different panels together on the sewing machine, and when it is all done, hopefully it will fit snuggly around this car shaped frame.

[Industrial sewing machine starting up and needle sewing through fabric]

Now I guess you are wondering what kind of fabric I am using and what’s on the fabric? Remember I said that the car tent is based of a late 80s station wagon? Well I found a car on gumtree earlier this year and convinced the guy selling it to let me photograph it and measure all of its details. With those measurements I made the frame, and with the photos I’ve made a huge print file for the outer shell that wraps around this frame. So think of the shape and appearance of a normal car, well I’m trying to mimic that exact appearance. Well thats the aim anyway.

[Tent being zipped and sealed]

Just finished sewing the last panel on and I guess you could say…now that it is wrapped around the frame, and all finished…it looks, it looks like a car!

I’m setting up and living in this tent around Melbourne in order to chat to people about sustainability, housing affordability and ultimately what our relationship with the landscape will be in the 21st century. So if you wanna check it out, pop down for a chat or just have a cup of tea, you can find be at ACCA, Testing Grounds, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Nothcote Town Hall, as well as two suburban sites in Footscray and Northcote.

Check the Next Wave Festival website for venue details and dates or go to shadowsonthehill.com.au for daily updates on my time in Melbourne.

[Ambient music fade]


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