Mason Williams
Edward Ruscha
Patrick Blackwell

Corinne Carlson
Karen Henderson
Marla Hlady

In 1967 three sexy smart artist guys threw a Royal Typewriter out of a Buick Le Sabre and carefully recorded the results. In 2000 three sexy smart artist gals threw a Macintosh Plus Computer out of a Ford Econoline and recorded the results in exactly the same fashion.

The Royal Road Test had a major impact on me when I was a student, and my copy of the book is probably the third thing I'd grab in a house fire (after the two cats). Three guys take on technology, using a flash machine (car) to wreck a clunky one (typewriter). A personal mobility machine to wreck a personal expression machine. Their 'test area' is a piece of roadside in Nevada that looks like US nuclear test sites. Governments throw atoms around and blow stuff up, create mushroom clouds, wreck the lives of millions, and threaten the planet with extinction. We little people can get in our cars and throw typewriters. The captions are wry and the whole 'test' is conducted with poignant, deadpan humour. The epigraph reads:
"It was too directly bound to its own anguish to be anything other than a cry of negation; carrying within itself the seeds of its own destruction."

As our technological equipment supersedes itself, it is perfect that Carlson, Henderson and Hlady redid the Road Test. And I love that it was girls this time who threw the damn machine and watched it smash.

- sally mckay 11-28-2003 10:12 am