A view from a moving vehicle
Posted by Terri on March 25, 2011 - 1:44pm
Categories: On the Walls

Scale is everything. A speck in the distance looms large as it is approached and for a second, just before one whips by, it becomes its actual size. Even though this is a repeated experience as one moves toward a destination, it can be hard to comprehend. When searching for confirmation of scale the phenomenon of perspective becomes even more puzzling as the still marker diminishes until it disappears in the rear view mirror.

Maintaining highway speed gives rhythm to the experience. Everything along the side of the road becomes an inanimate object, frozen in place, operating as a marker on a journey full of anticipation. The buildings, billboards, fence posts, trees, patches of grass and flowers disrupt the wandering mind and keep the traveler connected to the road.

Another experience of the road is reading one’s way across the landscape. For example, the literal reading of words floating in the sky on billboards or roadside signage and following the associations they suggest. There is also the reading of the narratives one creates as stories of living in the surrounding environment are formed and played out in the imagination.

It is strange how the space of the road—a moving space—allows for mental escape while putting one in the moment like almost no other life experience, a quality it shares with the act of making art.

** This is the third installment of our series on Ed Ruscha: Road Tested by our Curator of Education, Terri Thornton. (Part 1 can be viewed here, and Part 2 can be viewed here.) **