The Kinematic Subject

The Vehicular Experience of Speed and Automobility in Virtuality/Reality

The existence of a horizon privileges the perception of wide horizontal angles, rather than vertical tall angles. If instead of a horizon we have a ‘vertizon’ (vertical horizon), then the vertical orientation is privileged. In this case, there is a perceptual lack of a horizontal bottom plane, which connotes potential falling. In the case of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the hallucination sequence has no gravity, and no stop point of safety; just constant peripheral stimuli. Yet this scene has a horrific nature of violence. While the environment is perceptually smooth, with no trajectory errors or bumps, the kinaesthetic subject (the astronaut) is violently thrashed around the screen. This contrasts with the experience of driving simulators, where the driver is perceptually safe, and the environment is instead perceptually violent.

However, the mere existence of a horizon/vertizon denotes the existence of two spaces: surface space, and aerospace. Depending on the abilities of the vehicle, the kinematic subject can travel on/through either or both of these mediums. In surface travel, the horizon splits the finite and impossible types of aporia apart. The horizon itself is the represented form of the infinite aporia; an infinite challenge of automobility.

The perspectivism of speed may primarily be vision orientated, but it is also worthy to note that other senses contribute to the experience. For instance, the sound of the rise and fall of engine revs between gear changes may in itself create a psychological effect of acceleration repetitiveness.

Furthermore, the lag of the turbo (if fitted) winding up during acceleration gives the aural perception of the rate of acceleration (higher pitch = quicker acceleration).