A Coproduction of The University of Notre Dame and The Builders Association
AVANTI is a ghost story about the 1963 demise of the Studebaker automotive corporation and the effects on its hometown, South Bend, Indiana, a microcosm of mid-century industrial America.
In a ghost story, it is usually an individual who haunts, unable to rest as a result of some past injustice or trauma. In AVANTI, the haunting body is that of a corporation whose dramatic closing left thousands of workers without jobs and pensions. Drawing on interviews with former Studebaker employees, AVANTI tells the story of one community’s painful experience of economic disaster. Almost forty years later, much of downtown South Bend is still littered with mammoth crumbling brick factories standing empty among the newer buildings. In AVANTI the coexistence of past and present comes to represent the current U.S. postindustrial condition under globalization and, more broadly, the general tendency for technological utopias to dissipate.
Named after the stylishly futuristic car that was Studebaker’s last-ditch effort at financial solvency, AVANTI also explores figures and objects from this bright past which mysteriously begin to appear in South Bend’s present. AVANTI’s memorial to the human effects of deindustrialization poses the future as a question. As it turns out, ghosts-including corporate ones-never really find rest.