Modern transportation is baffling and complex, and with its quotidian usage I sometimes forget how odd it actually is, as the world is turned into a series of nodes and stops. I half remember that mordant man, Will Self, describe it as the man-machine-matrix, which seems like a good summary.
Interail 2011: Countryside between Hanover and Prague
Train journeys are particularly quizzical, perhaps due to the way train tracks cut through everything, from rolling countryside and industrial estates, to seaside estuaries and densely packed tenement flats. Most importantly -and unlike the car- you can relax and observe the outside, relieved from having to read the world as a series of signs (and traffic jams) portending to a destination. What you do see is some sort of Eisenstein montage of layered fragments, rushing past at such pace that any form linearity is squashed by the journey’s sheer rapidity. Your zooming through a patchwork of hills; you look at your phone for a couple of seconds; when you look up you’re steaming along next to the English Channel. This would all be numbingly confusing, if wasn’t for the detachment created by being nested inside a well-heated, metallic pod.
These little drawings are a collection of landscapes, people, and other notable observations taken from a train journey between Liskeard (Cornwall) and London Paddington. This is how it played out: I saw something that caught my eye, I scribbled it down quickly in pencil, and then I later drew over it pen. Inevitable this means that most (probably all) of the images are distorted by memory–and maybe that is appropriate, given the fragmented and warped nature of modern transport?
p.s. The first two images are doodles from an interail trip i did last year, and can be viewed here. If you want to see an excellent comic about train travel, I would recommend Travel by Yuichi Yokoyama