Empire Drive-In is a full-scale theater made out of wrecked cars and a 40-foot screen constructed of salvaged wood. Audiences climb in and out of cars rescued from the junkyard to watch films projected on the big screen. Low-power radio transmits stereo audio directly to each car.
Empire Drive-In asks a series of questions about cars, car culture, and creative reuse, and then invites audiences to be a part of this conversation. The films and performances programmed reflect the themes of the overall project, and every element, from the glowing marquee to the personal items left in the salvaged cars, offers an opportunity to re-examine mass entertainment, easy nostalgia, and why we still want to experience the spectacle of cinema together.
Empire Drive-In was first created by Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark to screen Chandler's Flood Tide: Remixed, an expanded cinema piece with a live score by Dark Dark Dark. Empire Drive-In was commissioned in 2012 by the Abandon Normal Devices Festival in Manchester, UK, and again in 2013 by the New York Hall of Science in Queens.