Autopia: Cars and Culture by Peter Wollen, Joe Kerr

By Peter Wollen, Joe Kerr

The succeed in of the automobile this day is sort of common, and its impact on landscapes, cityscapes, cultures – certainly, at the very cloth of the trendy global – is profound. autos have introduced merits to participants when it comes to mobility and accelerated horizons, however the expense has been very excessive when it comes to harm to the surroundings and the intake of important assets. regardless of the turning out to be trust Faustian rate is now being paid for the liberty autos have bestowed on us, we're none the fewer production them in ever better numbers.

Autopia is the 1st ebook to discover the tradition of the motor automobile within the widest attainable feel. that includes newly commissioned essays via writers, critics, historians, artists and film-makers, in addition to reprinting key texts, it examines the impact of the auto in the course of the international, together with the us, Western and jap Europe, Japan, China, Cuba, India and South Africa. during this e-book the automobile is taken care of neither as a technological fetish item nor as an software of probability. in its place, it really is tested as a highly very important determinant of 20th-century tradition, neither absolutely reliable nor an unmitigated catastrophe, and positively 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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Nature is converted into the man-made as stables are converted into garages (nowadays, it is front gardens into off­ street parking), and primary relationships are overtaken by secondary ones as the chauffeur becomes a figure of power and of menace. By the time we come to Eliot and Fitzgerald a decade or so later, the car accident and car death are too common to be avoided. ' HIS MASTER S VOICE T . S. Eliot, in that great hymn t o modern decline and urban living, The Waste Land (1922), juxtaposes sex and the car in a brutal fashion, an association from which it was never to be disassociated.

Irwin recalls taking a critic to visit a garage, where he was able to show how the kid customizing his car was acting as an artist, weighing how it should look: 'Real aesthetic decisions were being made, just as they were made by a professional artist. '13 The glossy metallic paints and smooth surfaces of customizing culture also provided inspira­ tion for Billie Al Bengston, as well as Judy Chicago, who took spray-painting lessons from a customizer in order to compete on equal terms with her male peers.

In the years between Rebel and Graffiti, the car was correlated with a vibrant new youth culture. At the beginning of this period, Pop art took off in Britain, and for Richard Hamilton, in one critic's words, 'the motorcar became a god of sorts'. In 1955, the year of Rebel, Hamilton both contributed to the Man, Machine and Motion exhibition and designed the catalogue cover for it, which featured an image based on an Henri Lartigue photograph of a racing car, reversed to negative and blurred to intensify the image of speed.

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