The Kinematic Subject

The Vehicular Experience of Speed and Automobility in Virtuality/Reality

The car represents perhaps the simplest example of a system of intermediation. The broader concept of intermediation then allows us to seek other assemblages of the vehicle-subject. The vehicle-subject assemblage is only one interfacial element of the intermediation in automobility. The other interface is the vehicle-environment assemblage, which in most media is permanently fixed. For media, this second interface only changes during the stage of content creation or destruction. Take an example of paint as a vehicle and the canvas as the environment (and the finger is the acting element of the subject). Once the paint is applied and transgressed through the two dimensional space by the finger's point of contact, it dries, and is fixed to the canvas unless permanently removed.

For mechanical vehicles, this interface is the contact point between the tyres and the travel medium of the environment/landscape. The travel medium is the medium in the environment through which the vehicle is interfaced with the landscape to achieve motion. It comprises of two ‘surfaces’ that are interfaced to achieve motion (or

other action). The interfacing of these surfaces enables and disables the subject’s power and automobility in the control of the motion of the vehicle within the environment. In the case of cars, it is typically the interface between tyres and the road or ground surface. In the case of space vehicles in the vacuum of space, it is gravity, rocket propulsion, and other motion technologies. Depending on this travel medium, the abilities and controllability of the vehicle changes. So while an arcade game only allows for one main form of velocity control (‘rocket’ propulsion along a horizontal plane), a simulator allows for many different forms of velocity control, including the balance of vehicular inertia. The consequence for the kinematic subject is that the more options of driving styles and forms of gameplay are offered by the kinematic engine of the simulator. [An example of such progressive gameplay includes that of drifting].

Most racing simulations until recently have been in the quality of arcade video games, in that the virtual travel medium does not match that of the simulated vehicle. Arcade racing games, as well as the movement in first person shooters are typical examples, with variable forms of lag and various amounts of synthetic physics added for realism (for example ‘bobbing’ when walking). Instead of simulating the physics and causality of the tyre/foot to ground interface, they instead simulate the primary motion by ‘rocket’ propulsion. One of the key benefits of this is the smoothness of the visible