Fortunately my sober-minded steed didn’t panic, I pulled Nanchang Map my legs up high and slapped his neck to make him hurry away. Later in my Nanchang Map three-day stay I helped Paramon with the annual chore of ear-tagging the family sheep. Paramon and her mother had sat making the strings from twisted wool, doubled and knotted. The father had tom a cloth rag into strips, and I attached the strings to the strips. To attach these labels of ownership, we first caught and tethered the sheep, then Paramon stitched the label through the ear. The sheep struggled like mad and since the rest of the family had gone about its business I helped her out by trying to hold the sheep steady.
Additional studies within the automobilities’ field have included the multi-faceted exploration of driving within motorway landscapes, Defamiliarizing the Mundane Roadscape (2003) by Tim Edensor, and more recently, Driving (2010) by Iain Borden. Both Edensor and Borden critique the notion that the spaces of the car are dystopian, featureless and desensitized environments and that driving is a purely automatic behavior. A typical example of this characterization is located in Marc Auge’s (1995) concept of non-place’.
This chapter will reveal the complex relationships to place that can be encountered through driving. It does this by mapping the spaces beyond the car in order to conceptualize the EastLink Tollway as a material, social and imagined site that is central to the formation of identities and the production of meaningful attachments for motorists. In particular the discussion focuses on the affective and imaginative connections’ (Edensor 2003: 152) established between the presence of public artworks and motorists experiencing an array of embodied and engaging sensations within the complex topographies of apprehension and association’ (Edensor 2003: 152) that can be attributed to the road. The proposition is that the artworks located along the Tollway assist in re-configuring ideas of urban space and re-asserting concepts of place. An underlying theme running through this investigation relates to centrality of car-led mobility in the urban life of Melbourne, something that is common to many cities. The characteristically animated and embodied experience of driving requires that consideration is given to the specific feelings which arise from momentary associations and attachments that are integral to the ongoing [and] performative constructions of places’ (Merriman 2006: 77) and, in this instance, as they apply to motorists travelling along EastLink Tollway and their encounters with public art.