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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
Where in the world is Huntly? Where in the world is Huntly?

Jelka Plate



Quite a sensation was caused in Huntly on Wednesday evening by the passing of a motor car at a great rate through the streets.
1898 news report:
‘Motor car in Huntly’, Huntly Express
Cruising, Tubing and Fleeing aboot, young people and their custom cars

Jelka Plate comes from Berlin and stayed with us for three months in the autumn of 2006.

The MONO project started with the subject of youth isolation and boredom in the rural environment. How do young people deal with growing up in remote areas? In Huntly, some youngsters customise their cars and drive for hundreds of miles around the town over evenings and weekends. Many residents have safety concerns about this and the pollution - including noise pollution - which causes frustration and tension in the community. Jelka wondered why these youngsters, who call themselves 'cruisers' or 'tubers', do this, and what, if anything, might bring the two opposing sides together?


Jelka began by interpreting the activities of the cruisers as performances, as ways of showing cars to fellow tubers, to members of the opposite sex, as well as to the town itself. She discovered that they were driving, sometimes up to five hundred kilometres per weekend, as a form of exhibition, to demonstrate, to amuse themselves and as a way of enacting a modern day courting ritual. The youngsters’ attitude was more 'look how nice I made my car!' rather than 'I bet I can really annoy you and pollute your planet'. The youngsters’ actions showed motivation, determination and an aesthetic feeling counterbalancing the disruption it created in the community.

Jelka’s process consisted of talking to everyone concerned (the cruisers, the neighbours, the local driving teacher who had been a cruiser himself once, social workers, police, etc.). She undertook structured interviews and informal conversations that were published in the Huntly Express, along with pictures she had taken of the cars and of gatherings at the Market Muir Car Park. Before deciding to focus on work with the tubers, she asked teenagers what they missed in Huntly and quite a few mentioned a cinema, an acknowledgement of sorts that the cruisers also drove around out of boredom. In response to these interviews, Jelka set up a drive-in cinema in the car park where the tubers usually line up with their cars to chat from window to window.

The drive-in was attended by all generations, as well as car lovers and haters, giving them an opportunity to discuss, debate, and maybe reconcile. Jelka had chosen the classic: Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean to attract not only the youngsters, but also older people, some of whom sneaked over the walls that surround the car park. After the first drive-in, a group of youngsters involved in tubing was gathered and the drive-in cinema was handed over to them. It became a Huntly institution and is still happening in cooperation with the Cooper Park youth project.


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