Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Purple Toy Car (Lancaster Object 005)

Walking a few blocks south of the Pennsylvania RR station, along Queen Street, the residential quarters of Lancaster slowly emerge: small houses, mixed populations, children. It is here that I picked up the fragment of a plastic purple toy car. Thematically, the find links up with the automobile preoccupations of Lancaster Objects 001-004. It once belonged to a child that probably attended Ross Elementary School a block away. Matchbox cars, as I remember them from my childhood, were solid and metallic. They asserted the material power of the industrial world and brainwashed the collective potential of boys to love the speed and beauty of the machine. The purple toy car here is made out of cheap plastic. It bears an iconic but no material connection to the heroic psyche of the car. Real cars zoom up Queen Street and cut through the old fabric. Only a block away, we have an automotive landscape with strip malls, 45 mph multi-lane roads, and dealerships. Ross Elementary School is a beautiful Beaux Arts building embodying human scale. Many of its students walk to school but many are driven. Geographically, their childhood is caught between the urban core (further South) and the highway speed (further North) that lubricates the suburban economy. This object makes that conflict a little more sensible.

Lancaster Object 004
Purple Toy Car
Location: 40° 3'4.59"N, 76°18'29.09"W
Date: April 20, 2010

No comments:

Blog Archive

Kostis Kourelis

Philadelphia, PA, United States