Inspiration for the work Two Black Cars Collide at the Pastry Booth (2021) came in the form of terrain at the Briljantlaan (Brilliant Avenue) in Utrecht that Lüschen felt intuitively drawn to. The area comprises the unusual combination of neatly aligned garage boxes, a gas station, a laundry service, a car wash, a pastry booth and two pale blue residential houses; most people would pass through it without looking twice at the site.
Not Lüschen, however, who kept revisiting the place and reporting his findings in a journal. Initially he mainly observed the structural elements and their characteristics from the outside, but over the course of a month he slowly began to immerse himself in the private lives of those connected to the location; the manager of the gas station, a tenant of a small office space, the pastry sellers, the landlord of the garage boxes and the family living atop them.
His presence is like the spotlight at the start of his video work, Two Black Cars Collide at the Pastry Booth, rapidly spreading and mapping the area. As a simplified 3D model of the space comes into view, we hear fragments drawn from the artist’s notes. The colouring of the subtitles may remind some people of old video games, as does the pawn moving across the floor plan indicating the subject of each reflection. Lüschen: ‘At the time, it felt like I was in some kind of real-life first-person shooter game, but with a flashlight instead of a weapon, looking for answers about this place.’
The ostensibly straightforward public space seems to have a soft spot in this conglomeration of buildings where ‘the vague’ can blossom. A resident confides conspiracy theories to Lüschen while his numerous parrots repeat previously perceived life excerpts. Especially once the title incident is mentioned, one may wonder whether the diary fragments themselves contain alternative realities.
As the neat floor plan is wiped out, a blank canvas remains. On the one hand it mirrors an aforementioned fragment of an empty canvas, waiting for a parrot portrait; on the other, it visualises a lack of control and endless possibilities. The video ends in a 3D simulation: an assemblage of what Lüschen witnessed, things he was told, and what supposedly could be stored inside the talking birds. A staircase leads to nowhere. With the viewpoint circling the bordered landscape, one may get the feeling that–in our shared mission with the artist to define the place – we are stuck inside a level of the game that proves to be undefeatable.