The Mystery Of The Missing Volvo Meta-Documentary

In 2004, Volvo released The Mystery of Dalaro [note: there's supposed to be an umlaut over the o], a very serious-sounding 8-minute documentary about a small town in Sweden where 32 people suddenly bought the same Volvo on the same day. It was supposedly directed by one Carlos Soto.

It was, in fact, directed by Spike Jonze, who also put together "Soto's" own site where he questioned the facts of the "documentary" and wondered if he hadn't, in fact, been duped into making an ad.

The original Mystery is on YouTube, like everything else these days. Everything but the fake Soto rebuttals, unfortunately. For people like me who weren't giving a damn about Volvos in Europe in 2004, this project exists now only as a fragmented stunt, like the chocolate-syrup-coated ephemera after a piece of performance art.

Though they should be embarassed by its lameness, I'm sure the people at Ford Media thought their own slightly ambiguous Dalaro press release was a real hoot.

Uh, both/neither. It's advertising: The Mystery of Dalarö: Fact or Fiction? []

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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first published: March 4, 2007.

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