Cargo Sofia: Good Transport!
Tom Rowe recounts his 'journey' through Europe in the mobile cinematic experience of Cargo Sofia which runs until Friday 4 May from St. Georges Dock in Dublin.
Its is odd how easily you can accustomed to driving around Dublin in the back of a truck that has previously transported watermelons and toilet paper, listening to a Bulgarian truck-driver singing a traditional song for his wife. He would prefer to buy her some flowers, but the song is all he can afford.
Yet become accustomed we did. The two hours spent in the truck went slowly at times, especially when we were stuck at a border crossing, bribing officials with cigarettes, or at traffic lights, but we were kept entertained by the one-sided glass wall through which we could see the outside world, which pays remarkably little attention to the side of truck. Some of the time was spent watching movies projected onto a screen that lowered over the glass, showing a truck's eye view of the streets of Sofia, the industrial estates of Austria, the fields of Germany and the Irish coast from the deck of the ferry transporting the truck, and ourselves, from Bulgaria to Dublin.
The premise of Cargo Sofia is that the audience is taken on the trip across Europe, made by the actual drivers of the lorry in which we were so comfortably seated and strapped. The drivers are typical truckers, large, hairy, happy-go-lucky men who joke with each other in loud Bulgarian, translated for us by a girl who speaks into the devices which we wear on our heads. A camera in the cabin shows us a grainy live projection of the two drivers, who describe their journeys and their work and show us photos of their families and of themselves, with long gone trucks in foreign lands.
The trip takes us from the docklands into Dublin port, where we are shown the intricacies of the giant cranes that move the containers from the ships onto the trucks. Moving on, we travel to different areas of this strange industrial location where ordinary people are not allowed, occasionally happening upon a woman singing Bulgarian songs amongst the oil tanks, or a dock worker who explains his trade.
The mystery tour ends in the city centre, where the salutation of “good transport” is toasted with some Bulgarian grappa. We have seen a little of the true life of a trucker, that noble profession that is the subject of countless songs, men who seem to have a freedom we do not. We have also seen a little of the secret life of the docklands, an impenetrable fortress of machinery and gates at the edge of the city where our island nation receives its lifeblood.
Cargo Sofia runs until Friday 4 May, every evening at 7pm and 9pm, departing from St. Georges Dock, as part of the WeAreHere festival.