2005. Rebekka Reich + Anne Lorenz. TAXI MADRID (theoretical data)

To return to a place where we stayed in the past is well possible, but to return to a moment, which we experienced in the past, unfortunately is not. Dr. P. J. Zwart “Het Mysterie Tijd”

Taxi Madrid is a mobile public art intervention addressing issues of perception and the logic of memory. Equipped with stories, sounds, objects, smells and other memorabilia, 10 taxis will serve the main axis of Paseo de la Castellana, Paseo del Prado throughout the duration of Madrid abierto, transporting their passengers into someone else’s mind and view of Madrid from a different perspective: That of the ex-patriot.

Having lived in Madrid ourselves, respectively 10 and14 years ago, we were interested in how our memory of the place works. What stays vivid? Is it locations in relation to events, to smells or to certain colours or atmospheres?

A mixture of stories and descriptions came to mind and comparing them to the current state of the city a lapse between memory and reality arises.

We are interested in exploring how the outsiders view* of Madrid works in the current situation and
how a confrontation with someone else’s view can make us see the place we think we know so well
with different eyes. The aim is to catch the inhabitants of Madrid off guard, unprepared and abduct
them for a short amount of time from their everyday business.


A taxi is not just a means of transport but also an enclosed private space one enters for a certain amount of time:an ‘in-between-space’, a ‘time-out’. Much like in the cinema there is no way of escaping, other than stopping the car, and as such it serves as an interesting platform for a public art intervention. For Taxi Madrid we use this confined space and time to confront the passengers with a reality different to their own.

*By interviewing 10 former inhabitants of Madrid, who now live in different locations all over Europe, we devise 10 taxis dedicated to these people’s memories of Madrid.

The passengers are not briefed that the taxi they are entering is part of an art project, but will notice once they are on their way, that things are slightly different to their normal taxi trip. Maybe a musky smell of cologne is in the air and a ticket to the opera from 1960 lies on the back seat. All of a sudden the music to that opera starts playing through the radio and from the head-rest comes the voice of a lady talking about what she was thinking about when she walked down Paseo de Recolletos one night, when an exhibitionist came running towards her…

When paying for the taxi trip the passenger will receive a receipt with the following information:
- The name of the person, whose story he or she just witnessed
- The place where he or she currently lives
- The date when they left Madrid


As such Taxi Madrid hopes to become a talking point for the duration of Madrid Abierto for the artpublic
and a broader public alike. The project works with a sense of mystery or mythology, as the
likelihood to enter one or more of the taxis is quite random, and for many members of the public, the
experience will be unexpected.

The memory of the ex-patriot becomes part of the lived presence of a taxi user from Madrid and
therefore part of his or her own memory.