By Peter Wollen, Joe Kerr
Autopia is the 1st e-book to discover the tradition of the motor automobile within the widest attainable experience. that includes newly commissioned essays by means of writers, critics, historians, artists and film-makers, in addition to reprinting key texts, it examines the influence of the automobile in the course of the global, together with the us, Western and jap Europe, Japan, China, Cuba, India and South Africa. during this ebook the automobile is handled neither as a technological fetish item nor as an software of threat. in its place, it's tested as a highly very important determinant of 20th-century tradition, neither entirely reliable nor an unmitigated catastrophe, and definitely eternally fascinating.
Contributors comprise Michael Bracewell, Ziauddin Sardar, Al Rees, Martin Pawley, Donald Richie and Peter Hamilton. Key texts via Marshall Berman, Jane Jacobs, Roland Barthes, Marc Augé and others.
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Extra info for Autopia: Cars and Culture
Withdrawal of the 'real thing' inevitably produces its own compensatory fantasy. The text describes perfectly the arc of sexual frustra tion and relief of the not-to-be-thwarted teenager cum anthropomorph. But what Toad introduces into literature is the car accident. He has eight of them and lands in gaol because of his careless and illegal driving. Indeed, car theft and damage are never far away from Toad. Posed against the natural (the rural, the human, the slow and meditative) was the manmade (the urban, the machine-made, the rapid).
The Nouveaux Realistes, however, were not the first to destroy motor vehicles. In the early 1960s, Wolf Vostell crashed cars as part of his performance pieces, or 'de-collages', recording the events on video. His attitude can be summed up by his dictum, 'When I see a speeding car, I also see an accident going by. ' 8 Vostell, it seems, was pro-pedestrian and felt that streets should belong to people rather than motor vehicles. Car wrecks also feature prominently in Andy Warhol's silkscreen 'Car Crash' series of 1962 and '63.
Half a century later, the Ghanaian artist Kane Kwei sculpted a coffin in the form of a Mercedes, branching out later into a range of elephants, lobsters, eagles and the like. In 1989, his work was exhibited in Paris in the global art show Magiciens de la terre. Then, in 1991, Kwei was approached by an American researcher, Ernie Wolfe, who admired a coffin Kwei had made in the shape of a '56 Ford pick-up. Wolfe asked Kwei about the flame forms he used, which 'could have been on any car in East LA'.