All Cars Are Barricades

All Cars are Barricades (ACAB)* is an ongoing intervention with several sculptures along the Berlin Righbahn (highway). The sculptures are made from car debris found on the side of the road and assembled in the shape of large boulders. The work deals with the future of mobility and the current debate on reducing car use within the city. In 2022, Berlin pitched one of Europe’s boldest visions for a car-free future. Fifty thousand Berliners signed a petition (campaign: Berlin Autofrei) for a law to ban cars from within the city’s Berlin Ringbahn. The proposed area covers 88 square kilometres and would be the largest car-free urban district in the world. The petition was officially considered by Berlin’s local government. However, it has been stalled by the city’s Senate, who have criticised the bill for being too radical.

The sculptures refer to the common use of stones as roadblocks to stop cars from entering protected areas, such as parks and forests, and as such, they mirror the strategies of the climate activists (Letzten Generation) who have caused a lot of commotion over the last years by blocking roads, like the A100. The activists use their own bodies as barricades to halt traffic, which, as seen from the activist’s perspective, is observed as the real obstacle, blocking the pathway to a carbon free future. When movement comes to a halt, it creates a pause, a momentum of contemplation. The sculptures are meant as temporary barricades propagating the need for radical imagination in order to steer away from an ever-worsening climate catastrophe.

*The title is used by (climate) activists during demonstrations and is an alternative acronym for ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards), often used as a political slogan associated with dissidents who are opposed to the police.