Past, Present & Future

Past to Present: The Glamor of the Automobile

These glamorous images by Copenhagen based illustrator, Mads Berg,reminded me of the attraction and attitude towards cars in and around the 1950’s. In America, cars represent freedom and wealth. They represent the ability to dissect ones self from the masses. Automobiles allow us to transport ourselves on our own terms and on our own schedule. One car per person in a household is a standard amongst the American middle class. Freedom is more important to American’s than anything else, as it is what the culture is based on. However, I believe that this entitlement to freedom, in the sense of leisure, is a bit outdated and puzzling in this day and age.

I recently came across this article that describes public transportation as a societal equalizer, rather than a service for the less fortunate;

“If you live on Park Avenue [New York City], riding the subway is the great equalizer of your life experience. No matter how rich you are, you will suffer the delays and indignities of the subway just like the middle-class and poor riders from the Bronx and Harlem sitting next to you.”

It also calls attention to the negative attitude towards communal, public transportation by politicians of Republican and Conservative American beliefs;

“As far as he [Newt Gingrich] is concerned, universal means of transportation are no doubt just the beginning of a slippery slope toward universal health insurance. The fact that pooling our collective transportation budgets in the form of a subway system makes traveling vastly cheaper for individuals and society as a whole — much like, say, Canada’s national health insurance — is of little interest to demagogues who want to keep society divided along racial and cultural lines.”

While I don’t enjoy getting political, I have always had a strong relationship with the communal, socialized, and public of all things. I also find it interesting to look at the imagery of the past—or in this case—modern imagery that calls to the past, and see strong visual connections to societal beliefs and ways of living. These images are images that will always communicate as representations of a culture. In my opinion, images like these are some of the most successful forms of visual communication.

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