Static Friction: Burning Rubber


Viet Nam has the most motorbike usage per capita in the world, with over 85% of the population using motorbikes as their main means of transportation. This body of work responds to a central theme that revolves around the motorbike as a socio-economical symbol and its struggle to shift from being purely a means of transport to a means of expression and power. Touching on issues of globalism, economy, industry, individuality, rebellion, violence and aesthetics, Static Friction: Burning Rubber is an attempt to discuss these larger issues with one simple act, the burnout.

A burnout (also known as a peel out or power brake), used primarily in street racing culture, is the practice of keeping a vehicle stationary and spinning its wheels, causing the tires to heat up and smoke due to friction. The origins of burnouts can be traced to drag racing where they are used to increase the traction and performance of the tires. Burnouts eventually became a serious form of competition and entertainment in informal street racing, usually for show value. In Viet Nam, as the government has restricted the ownership and usage of higher cc motorcycles in the past, the burnout has been a technique that has been rarely practiced and perfected.

In the context of Viet Nam, where private space and the public space of transportation merge and collapse upon each other, the burnout deftly slides into this rift, replacing routine, safety, and legal structure with motorized expression, danger, defiance and theatricality. The vehicle’s purpose to move and mobilize is re-constituted, made frozen and motionless, rejecting it’s manufactured form as it builds up an almost uncontrollable potential for destruction, of itself and for those within its proximity.


Single channel video, 3:46 mins, 1920 x 1080, 25fps, color, stereo

12 Type C photographs
36.57 x 65cm (each)