Inertia interrupted

Inertia interrupted

“[A] traffic jam is a collection of rooms.”

That’s David Greene of Archigram according to Geoff Manaugh. He continues:

[A]nd “so is a car park — they are really instantly formed and constantly changing communities. A drive-in restaurant ceases to exist when the cars are gone (except for cooking hardware). A motorized environment is a collection of service points.”

I’ve long been fascinated by the transition that overcomes people waiting in traffic. If there were ever a place to study human interruption — in slow motion — it might be here, the traffic jam. Particularly the end-of-the-day jam, the sort where people seem to become so quickly deflated of hope: inertia interrupted.

Until I read Greene’s take, it never occurred to me that people’s very rooms were being transformed, suddenly, and against their will. When an interruption happens, and if they consider themselves at the center, whatever thing they were going to accomplish, whatever thing they were on their way to, they’ve now missed. Just like a house is said to comprise groups of furniture and paths among them, a traffic jam is a community of rooms that must be formed again.