A four screen installation showcasing original futures of zero-emissions racing
17 May 2023
Commissioned By
Infopro Digital
In Collaboration With
Lorena Lisembard
Research, Original designs, Production
For The Event
Drive to Zero
Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris
On Show
APR 5 — 7 2023

The eyes of angry birds, the roar of predators ready to pounce and devour, attractive drivers moving freely in the land of energetic opulence, in cybernetic unity with their powerful machines: modern fossil mobility has created and reinforced a whole set of values and ideals. The epitome of this undoubtedly is motorsports with its cars and pilots. 

Zero GP is a series of four design fictions exploring what racing could be like in a zero-emission culture. If today's motorsports competitions remain products of an era of growth propelled by combustion engines, what new forms of racing would best reflect or romanticize post-oil models?


Weav­ing through sandy dunes, semi-liv­ing machines are steered toward what­ev­er organ­ic mat­ter could sus­tain their micro­bial engine. This is a race for sur­vival, won by mak­ing the most out of scarce resources and, more impor­tant­ly, just mak­ing it out of the desert. In this future, mobil­i­ty goes hand in hand with ener­gy avail­abil­i­ty. Humans can move as long as they can feed the machine. Unlike trans­port ani­mals, they are built much more robust­ly and devour almost any organ­ic mate­r­i­al. They pro­vide mobil­i­ty for a soci­ety that is not about mak­ing it as fast or as lux­u­ri­ous as pos­si­ble but sim­ply about mak­ing it.


Where dri­ving one's own car is a thing of the past, route plan­ning emerges as a new form of rac­ing. Sat in their sim­u­la­tors, hyper­fo­cused gamers com­pete at the edge of dri­vabil­i­ty by ever-redefin­ing tight cor­ners, pre­med­i­tat­ing dif­fi­cult traf­fic sit­u­a­tions, and shav­ing off mil­lisec­onds to opti­mize the route plan­ning soft­ware of autonomous vehi­cle fleets. Sur­pris­ing­ly human x algo­rithm col­lab­o­ra­tions still have an edge over algo­rithms alone. But it's not this ratio­nale that turned route plan­ning into a rac­ing sport — automa­tion abol­ished the cel­e­bra­tion of con­trol, free­dom, and pow­er that being in the dri­ving seat meant. Should machines ful­ly over­take human dri­vers, these races might sur­vive as an anachro­nism allud­ing to the adven­tur­ous and uncon­trol­lable Wild West of mobil­i­ty from the old days.


In a car-free city, pub­lic trans­porta­tion has become the stage of unex­pect­ed com­pe­ti­tion. Sub­ways can spon­ta­neous­ly chart their own course, and pas­sen­gers cheer on their favorite sub­way pilots as they tra­verse the city at unprece­dent­ed speeds. In this future, mobil­i­ty is not mere­ly a cheap and prag­mat­ic neces­si­ty. Instead, it is part of a vibrant and pas­sion­ate pub­lic life. It is fun to be on the move in such a city, and often the jour­ney becomes the destination.


In the coun­try­side, four-wheeled aero­dy­nam­ic sculp­tures with­out engines silent­ly glide along the road bat­tling for dis­tance. Flam­boy­ant as pea­cocks and smooth as fal­cons, these vehi­cles cel­e­brate engi­neer­ing in style. In a future respect­ing the regen­er­a­tive lim­its of our plan­et, they push to exploit every pos­si­ble phys­i­cal effect, con­vert­ing even minor sources of ener­gy com­ing their way into for­ward motion. Their rid­ers are adored as much for the mas­tery of these machines as they are for the ele­gance of their performance.