Gods, monsters, hybrids

An encounter with automotive in-betweens at the Salon d’Automobile in Paris 2006

"In the past, designers were servants in car companies; today, they are kings," says one of these designers: Patrick Le Quement is head of design at Renault, which was the first car company to create the post of design director. As cars have become better and more similar in quality, aesthetic criteria have become much more important over the last 15 years. Not the functional, but the symbolic-social utility value of a car is the primary incentive to buy today.

In design, however, it is not the unique imaginative power of a designer that manifests itself, but a certain cultural habitus. With Bourdieu, car design can also be seen as a "Social order turned into a body" today. It is a mirror of man’s body dreams. What the cultural scientist Hartmut Bohme writes about the human relationship to animals also applies to the relationship to automobiles in an astonishing way: they are not only useful objects, the human relationship to them also makes them objects of desire "objects of desire, of projection, of exchange and of feelings." The closeness and intensity of the human-animal relationship thus finds its modern counterpart in the human relationship with the car.


It’s here

Ginger, the most famous scooter of the century

Yesterday, American inventor Dean Kamen presented his project Ginger to the public. Ginger, alternatively also simply called IT, was considered for months as the rough mystery of the Hi Tech industry. Now we know: Ginger is an electrically powered scooter.

It looks pretty funny, how a mechanical lawnmower. It’s called Segway and will cost around 3000 dollars. It travels at a speed of about 20 kilometers per hour. It feels like a pair of magic sneakers, says its inventor Dean Kamen. So it actually sounds quite interesting.


The train will pick us up at home in the future

The train will pick us up at home in the future

Image: Deutsche Bahn

Traffic conditions on German roads are becoming increasingly catastrophic

Traffic jams are getting longer and more frequent, the number of accidents exceeds 400,000 a year and.000 and every year over 3,000 people are killed by cars.000 people. On average, a German spends more time in traffic jams than having sex. Is that quality of life?


The traffic turnaround begins – everywhere

The traffic turnaround begins - everywhere

Bicycle City Amsterdam. Image: kirkandmimi

The amption that the car is a cheap means of transportation is a pious self-deception. Driving is expensive, destructive to the environment and dangerous to life. A comment

We live in a car dictatorship with terrible consequences, which we suppressed. Therefore a number, which is surely shocking for many readers of this article: since 1945 worldwide 120 million traffic deaths on our roads. For those who can’t believe it, research this number yourself.


Imprisonment for making a phone call while driving

Because cars are dangerous weapons, penalties for dangerous driving in Great Britain are to be "dangerous driving" can be aggravated – even up to life imprisonment for manslaughter

How violence against people is judged and sanctioned depends very much on the circumstances. Anyone who injures or kills a person with a knife or other weapon is generally punished much more severely than if they do the same behind the wheel of a vehicle. Vehicles can be seen as dangerous weapons, or at least they become dangerous weapons when they risk or even unconsciously provoke accidents through appropriate driving behavior.

Most drivers were allowed to ame that nothing would happen to them and that they would master all dangers, even if they roared onto the road with their heavy projectiles. Probably the impression of sitting in a locked vehicle as an extension of one’s own body is the cause of this misunderstanding. Driving a car, especially at high speed, is no less risky than running around in a crowd with an open knife.