Note for English readers:
Please note that the italian word Ape (pron. ə‘pe) means bee and is the brand name of a popular tricycle from Piaggio, the same company that produces the Vespa (wasp) scooter. There’s no relation to the english word ape referring to primates.

“...A Piaggio tricycle turnes into a one-man mobile home as the mean of transportation and micro living space to challenge the open space of existence, as a new form of tragi-comical nomadism for a lone and hopless journey where slowness and freedom are the only things that are left.
It’s a metaphor of an urge, a concrete oxymoron, some way in between the vehicle for the quiet person who won’t leave the everyday scope of life, and the need to break moorings for an endless crossing. It’s an absurd machine rich in conceptual and ironical implications, it is actually working, simple and well finished, fit for first-hand testing the stubborn and daring radicalization of the essential needs.” (P.M. Bedon)

The idea of turning one of these tricycles into a very small and very slow mobile home dates back in the mid-90s, coming from discussions among friends, and appeared a few years later in a comic strip of mine (never published) about a group of people living in different kinds of trailers, vans and mobile homes at the edge of a contemporary wealthy society. The project got a new input some time later after seeing the film “The Straight Story” by David Linch. The movie tells the true story of Mr Straight, an elderly farmer from a mid-west state who decides to go and visit his brother after not having talked to him for many years due to a fight they had. He has no driver’s licence, so he hooks up a lawn mower to a small trailer he had fit for sleeping and cooking, and sets off on a journey that is more than two hundred miles long.

In 2005 I presented the project in the version you see now at the International Competition of the Absurd, which was held as part of the biennial festival of the absurd Mercurdo, and ended up as one of the winners. Shortly after, the organizers were able to finance the making of the ApeCamper which was presented in the next edition in 2007. It is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of the Absurd in Castelvetro di Modena, near Modena, Italy.

Davide Bignami