The Kinematic Subject

The Vehicular Experience of Speed and Automobility in Virtuality/Reality

Motility Transformation

Now that we have established the spatiality of motile hybridity, we can examine the temporality of motile hybridity. Bechmann differentiates cyborgs from motile hybrids in that cyborgs are a permanent fusion of subject and machine, and motile hybrids are temporary constructions (2004). The consequence of a temporary hybrid means that a subject can transform to and from mobility and motility. In the modern interface culture of contemporary life and entertainment, this process of transitioning from mobility to motility can occur instantaneously.

Action heroes switch from interface to interface. James Bond in action sequences switches from bungee jumping, to stealth techniques, to running down a runway, to sky diving, and to flying a plane (to use an example from the opening sequence of Goldeneye [1995]). This switching from vehicle to vehicle, from motility to motility, is becoming a more popular occurrence in modern media and contemporary lifestyles. The montage of televised motor sport and different player views within video games allow the kinematic subject to instantly switch between different points of view, in essence instantaneously transforming them from different modes of subjectivity. To put it another way, a change in the point of view parallels that of a change in motility. Motility could be said to be derived from the terms of motive and mobility. This signifies that there is a motive in the construction of a cybernetic system that affects mobility. For the subject, that motive can be said to be that of

automobility, of a freedom to move without moving. Another additional motive is the altered experience as caused by the bodily transformation of motility. Video games such as Grand Theft Auto (Rockstar North, 1997), Halo (Bungie Studios, 2001), and Battlefield 2 (Digital Illusions CE, 2005) make gameplay more immersive by the inclusion of vehicles that reduce the perceived distance between the player’s goals. This poses a final motive: to decrease the time required for travel.

Vehicles have two primary uses: the usefulness for transportation, and for experiences of altered consciousness. The modern person’s life revolves around the transportation through commodities and the transportation through thrills.

Schnapp (1999) details the existence of a duelling culture where the vehicles of commodity, consisting of system controlled trains, trams and buses conflict with the vehicles of thrills, eg the entertainment of rollercoasters, motor sports, extreme games and media entertainment. Thrill vehicles are arguably more enjoyable than commodity vehicles, as they typically are ergodic art forms, and not just kinetic art. The inclusion of interaction and thus automobility allows the vehicle to be used for autotelic activities. Yet in a world of increasing fuel prices, global warming and increasing damage to our environment, thrill vehicles are increasingly experienced in the form of the last vehicle, a vehicle where real travel is rendered obsolete [see Atopia].