The Kinematic Subject

The Vehicular Experience of Speed and Automobility in Virtuality/Reality

Furthermore, it is said that 'the interface is the experience' (Pold, 2005: 24). Pold describes contemporary society as living in an 'interface culture' (2005, 2). Even if we negate cyberculture, interfaces are everywhere. The pages of books, the prosceniums surrounding the door of the cinema screens, electronic handheld gadgets, the millions of televisions, and the dashboards and windscreens of automobiles; all are examples of a boundary between two kinds of spatio-temporalities: reality and 'virtuality' (illusion). The relative movement of and between the spatio-temporalities of reality and virtuality is a deeply complex phenomenon, and is embedded in the subject positioning of all actors and spectators. Time-based media have an ambiguousness of audience positioning and control, and an unclear subjective distance.

In the cinema I am simultaneously in this action and outside of it, in this space and out of this space. Having the power of ubiquity, I am everywhere and nowhere. (Mitry in Baudry, 1974-5: 47)

How can this be explained? How can we for instance account for the apparent similarity in experience between video gamers and racing drivers? How can the experience of speed relate to the experience of media? Is there an ideology in the creation of motion? The kinematic subject refers to two aspects of this project. Firstly, the subject, or topic of discussion is related to kinematics, to the movement of bodies, objects, and environments. The second aspect and the key focus of this project is that of the viewer, player, the spectator and the actor; the subject who is set in motion not just by the vehicle or by the media, but by the subjectivity of motion. The combination of these two aspects defines the topic of discourse as the kinematic subject, in other words, the individual (and thus universal) experience of speed.