Is it the journey or the destination? Or maybe that is not the question to be asked, maybe it’s the mode of travel? And the quality of the place on arrival?
We arrive in Plymouth (UK). Early autumn is evident – first impressions at the railway station. The concrete mass of architecture indicates a post-war city plan. People chuff on electronic cigarettes and a tall man passes us by. His head is full of code, he may have written something decent on health and well-being. His mother-in-law is in the final years of her life. He has scraped together the cash to own his own home. Later in the day he will find someone he used to know sitting in a cafe.
A bollard topped with yellow points towards the national cycle network. The refreshed side-walk is augmented with a matrix of moss – here in the South West of England it never gets cold but the locals point to the damp conditions we gather later. The Marlboro packs have all turned horrid green, smoking is not just bad for you, it must not be advertised. We join the electronic people and smoke near the cash teller. The journey down from there to here was smooth – to our left a small note is posted – careful review reveals ‘Intercity 17’ – an art exhibit thru the window. Bridgette Ashton, Joanna Brinton and Graham Seaton show some art. We wonder what is Intercity House?
The yellow bars keep us safe and match up well with the milky blue sky. The tall man walks off, joined by an entourage.
Nursing a mild hangover, I look into the window, a crazed pattern loops down with a mix of floor surfaces presented amid hurriedly brushed green. I’ve seen this kind of floor surface a million times before, often in cheap cafes and hotels. The tall man knows that digital representation creates a whole new simulacrum of this world. He knows about a Thousand Plateaus – in my case I am reduced often to the same number of hotels. Always on a journey, you know the number – never arriving.
But a destination that has art maybe one to return to. A city is a set of surfaces and reflections. No, that’s not true, a city is a place that remains in your head when you leave. No, that’s pathetic – a city is an network of people and things – IoT and that digital stuff. Smart. Joanna Brinton’s window piece nails this for us, it casts long shadows onto the horror of the speckled grey floor, while augmenting the dirt of the black mosaic tiles below.
We are met by my attorney, in his blood red Mustang. He’s taking us off on a trip.