I saw this Tweet via Hyperallergic's every-Sunday-required-reading post:
The capitalist imagination: It's easier to imagine a fleet of self-driving cars than cities w/ free efficient public transit. Or bike lanes.
— Astra Taylor (@astradisastra) May 28, 2014
It made me think of Seattle-based artist Britta Johnson's Streamlined Fadeout. The piece exists in two forms: One, as an animation that lasts about 20 seconds or so, and plays on a loop. What you see are cars riding by, represented in hubcaps on a wall painted black (in a field of hub caps painted white). They turn gray and then disappear as time progresses. The piece's other iteration is a static sculpture of the hubcaps tacked onto the Red Wall that contains the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station construction site. The idea is that cars are disappearing as public transit appears.
Update: The hubcaps aren't painted with paint, just a sort of "soot candy," the artist alls it, made of corn syrup and aquarium-grade activated charcoal (extra safe for the park) that wore off over time. (Johnson says: "Partly riffing on Tom Wolfe's Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.")
But that comes with a caveat. While Sound Transit's growing system is marvelous, Seattle is by no means a leader in public transit terms. In fact, we downright stink compared to any respectable city, and we downright stink compared to how good we should be, considering that environmentalism is everybody's favorite buzzword around here. (What I really love are Seattle private schools—with no bus system, so parents drive their kids to school individually every morning, and drive them home every evening—with "focuses" on the "environment.")
Still, light rail is coming to Capitol Hill, and light rail is good. Now if we could just save Metro so that people who need public transit rather than just prefer light rail as an aesthetic option can still take their damn bus routes to their jobs that don't pay them enough to afford cars. But that would not suit the capitalist imagination.
By the way, speaking of the capitalist imagination, you're following Anna Minard's live Tweeting of the City Council's vote on $15 going on now, right? Go!