Phenomenology of the Road
Jan 17
Jan 26 2020
Window Installation

On the road, the traffic flows by separation; the thin yellow line offers the possibility of unaltered and unhindered movement. Through separation, the road becomes a quintessential site of transportation. And it transports far more than cars; the road offers a space for the dissemination and movement of ideas, feelings, thoughts, and practices. Roads regulate a plethora of social, cultural and historical affective flows. Affect is central here; while traveling, one feels as much as one thinks. And the line, demarcating separation, keeps the opposing directions of flow in order. These affective flows when left unhindered are almost impossible to detect. These im-perceptible and in-cognizable flows are precisely what we call normativity.  As we go about our day to day routine, we may even perceive the road and its directionally charged flow to be neutral. They cannot be experienced until collided against, until something or someone impedes them. One feels frustration in a traffic jam; one can no longer register the breeze when the car stops.

But what does one do when this flow is disrupted, when the movement is hindered? Actually, the question is not (yet) one of ethics; it is not (yet) about what one does so much as what happens in the moment of disrupted movement, of halted flow. In the moment of disruption, affective flows disclose themselves. Although we do not notice them on a daily basis, although we cannot perceive them until they are broken, they are still there. And it is not so much the magnitude (how much one does) of the vector within the affective flow, but rather the direction (one’s orientation, even while doing nothing). Thus, “traffic”—be it vehicular, social, or political—is produced in the road when something flows against the established (historic, normative, social, cultural) direction, regardless of what one does.

Through digital textiles, this project announces the road space of contestation. Nothing is neutral—every road is charged. Announcing the phenomenology of the road as a space of memory, or rather of re-membering conflicting memories, we remember: we “member again,” piecing together fragments from what has transpired to make sense of our present. In this installation, textile is used as a way to investigate (to attempt to understand and thinking through) the events and conflict memories and events which transpire in the Phenomenology of the Road.

Participants
Linda Zhang, Biko Mandela Gray, Alisha Kapoor, Dante Baldassin, Reide McClain
Acknowledgements
Phenomenology of the Road
Phenomenology of the Road
Phenomenology of the Road