Filed under: brave new world | Tags: car, carapace, landscape, machine, speed, train, traveling
A carapace is a protective outer covering like on a turtle or an airstream. Here is a description of how the traditional tangible relationship between people and their landscapes is radically changed. In cars, at higher speeds, for longer spells we gamble away the tangible for a remote gaze.
The landscape is a dynamic place shaped by natural forces that is culturally processed and refined by human action. It is both a container for humans and an object contained in human life that can be used and modified. Traditionally human cultural factors shape landscape and vice-versa: peoples inhabiting and gazing at this same landscape shape their own culture accordingly.
Nowadays however there is a radical change in this ‘traditional’, tangible relationship. In a society that is becoming increasingly mobile, more and more people belong to a new category: they are temporary inhabitants. They travel further, more often, sealed-off and at higher speed than ever before; they are those who do not inhabit land but commute through it and perceive it on the move when transported in high-speed ‘capsules’; those who do not fully engage their senses in the landscape experience but reduce the ‘physical’ interaction to a remote gaze; those at last, who have no roots in the landscapes they traverse.
In his book “The practice of everyday life” (1984) Michel de Certeau refers to this state as ‘traveling incarceration; immobile inside the train, seeing immobile things slip by’. It is only the machine (the train) that is in fact moving. But this movement causes a complete new vision of the world outside.
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