Thursday, December 18, 2008

Automobile Apocalypse

In the last century, cars have made incredible progress at taking over our livable spaces. The public commons, once the cradle of human community, have been largely usurped by the automobile. It happened slowly, so it's easy to forget that there might be another option. The tide is turning, though, with more cities creating pedestrian-only zones, rejoining places like Venice who never left the pedestrian world.

Then there are places like Detroit, epicenter of America's car culture. Symbolic of humanity's domination by automobile is the Michigan Theater, once a golden-age movie palace, now a parking structure, its grand sculpture playing to a crowd of metal boxes with wheels.

Makes me want to do a series of art pieces of human places taken over by cars. Not anthropomorphized cars, mind you, but full-size impersonal hunks of metal, parked in a restaurant, a public restroom, a playground, your living room. Either that or take still frames from Pixar's Cars and insert reminders that people once lived there, before they were inexplicably eradicated; perhaps some human skeletons, or a baby doll with tire tracks over its mutilated torso.



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