The Kinematic Subject

The Vehicular Experience of Speed and Automobility in Virtuality/Reality

Aporia Negotiation

In the scenario of real and virtual automobility, extravehicular stimuli is represented in the form of aporia. This is based on the premise that stimuli (eg the representation of objects) can damage the subject in some way or form, if it is present in the same spatio-temporality.

Aarseth’s aporia and epiphany come as an insight into subject actions and the vehicle/environment’s causality. Aarseth declares that ‘the basic structure of any game … is the dialectic between aporia and epiphany’ (Aarseth, 1999: 38).

‘When an aporia is overcome, it is replaced by an epiphany: a sudden, often unexpected solution to the impasse in the event space.’ (Aarseth, 1999: 38)

This concept was originally applied to environments of problem solving, of the causality of player actions that cause affects (epiphanies) in the game space, rather than player navigation. How can this be applied to the experience of speed? Where is the aporia, and where is the epiphany in the experience of speed?

Kinaesthesia, the sense of travelling through space, is experienced as the transportation around and through aporia. Derrida defines aporia as:

the difficult or the impracticable, here the impossible, passage, the refused, denied, or prohibited passage, indeed the nonpassage,

which can in fact be something else, the event of a coming or of a future advent … which no longer has the form of the movement that consists in passing, traversing, or transiting. (1993: 8).

Derrida also describes aporia as negative form (1993: 19), which when opposed to positive form, ie space without problems, aporia is formed in objects, through which one cannot pass. These positive and negative forms draw a parallel to the places of positive valence (safety) and negative valence (danger) in optic flow. Thus the negative form, aporia, is the form that requires negotiation around, and thus provides the stimuli required for kinaesthesia, and thus for an experience of speed.

However, this is but one type of aporia. In the broadest sense, Derrida defines three types of aporia: the limited, the unlimited, and the impossible (1993: 20-21). These are all identifiable in the perspectivism of speed aesthetics as perceived through landscapes.

Aporia of limitation :: Aporia of unlimitation
Aporia of the impossible