Photo: CalArts School of Art, Freeway Joyride class at Vasquez Rocks in Santa Clarita, CA
Freeway Joyride is a course that involves driving personal automotive vehicles across the expanse of Los Angeles County including the inner city, desert areas, mountain and coastline communities. The course is designed to introduce students to experience the ready flow of traffic, unexpected detours, incalculable distance, extended duration of arrival timed to physical barriers and traffic jams. The various meeting points are not possible to reach from starting point via walking and/or public transportation. “Car Culture” is experienced while en route along streets, thoroughfares, highways, and freeways. Such notions as urban isolation and social dislocation are discussed and examined when students gather at preselected sparking lots across the map that has no center of gravity. Many lessons regarding space, social/cultural history, and changing demographics are incorporated into this course. Potholes, asphalt, missing freeway off-ramps, bridges, tunnels, cul-de-sacs, misspelled signage, and the absence of guardrails is integrated into ongoing discussion of self vs. constructed space. Students experience the subjective horizon from which to direct their creative drive while picking up speed or applying the brakes to avoid unnecessary cultural collisions.