Nothing Runs Like a Deere

Max Göran / / 2023

Gonzo-anthropological field study in Swedish ‘raggar’ culture, where teenagers in remote provinces meet in parking lots and hang out in their souped-up Volvos.

Over the course of a hot summer evening, teenagers in a remote, provincial Swedish town meet in parking lots to hang out in their cars. We recognize the mythical scene from ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ and the thread to 1950s hotrod and rockabilly culture. But in Sweden’s enduring ‘raggar’ culture, people drive Volvos, and preferably ones they’ve built themselves into rolling discos in areas where youth clubs are far apart. Artist Max Göran revisits the culture in a documentary video work that starts as a piece of gonzo-anthropology and mutates into magical realism. The cars are tuned down to tractor speeds of 20 mph in case the police show up, but with the push of a secret button, the young drivers of ages down to 16 can transform their vehicles into real cars – an object with its own contradictory, symbolic and subcultural history from James Dean to the present day.