This scene is based on the idea of a rite of passage, and that passage between secular or sacred spheres requires a ceremony or ritual. He also uses the metaphor for a passage as when a person changes rooms in a house. Rites of passage have three phases: separation, liminality (transition), and incorporation.
Texts are taken from Guy Debord’s On The Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Period of Time (1959) and loosely based on the three stages of a rite of passage. The texts are read by the narrator in English while echoes of the original French text are sung.
“Chapter 18 is an interlude: the halfway point in the story, a kind of intermission. In Elysian Park, we enter an AirStream, and it seems as if we have gone back into time.
“A tuba, bass, and electronic soundscape filled out the creepy and mysterious atmosphere. The text came from the script for Debord’s film On the Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time – which I considered an unofficial subtitle for Hopscotch as a whole.
“The window indicates we are moving through a car wash. But the characters dress and behave like figures from the 1950s. We see a tense marital scene, the father anachronistically reading text by Guy Debord, and the mother, ominously chopping vegetables for a stew that will never be eaten, singing those lines by Debord.
“This scene had a pretty tortuous evolution into becoming the strange scene experienced in the performance. Veronika wanted to write the interlude as a musical car wash, an idea I loved. But easier said than done: an operational car wash would never give up all their business on weekends for the same car to pass through it again and again. I thought I found a solution when I passed a defunct car wash on 7th Street downtown…only to discover that the owner was currently in jail for using that location for a money laundering scheme. Veronika thought we should make it a virtual reality car wash, which was intriguing but way beyond our budget. But the idea of the virtual car wash stuck when we decided to fill the windows with the video of moving through a car wash.
“Based on the way the Green Route was shaping up geographically, we needed a stationary chapter in Elysian Park to connect Chapter 9 and Chapter 35. That’s where the idea of a parked camper came up. Suddenly the piece took on a domestic quality: it started to become about the roads as a home, how mobile living contributed to the dissolution of the traditional family unit. It became a kind of twisted genesis story for a new society born out of car culture. AirStreams exude that frontier spirit and optimism of California in the 1950s, a history still embedded in the landscapes we visited in Hopscotch. In this context, Guy Debord’s text speaks prophetically of the revolution of the 1960s.
“Debord was one of the chief inspirations of Hopscotch. In 1958, he developed a concept he called the dérive, or “drift,” a technique of a quick passage through varied surroundings to study the urban environment and contemplate how it effects us psychologically. He coined the term “psychogeography”, which he defined as “the study of specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not on the emotions and behaviors of individuals.” The derive was meant to expose how “cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.” In many ways, I aspired for Hopscotch to be a 21st century derive for the city of Los Angeles.”