Sound of Honda 1989 - A lap with Senna

Written by Kurt Schleier | Sunday, 11 August 2013 14:35

ayrton-senna-honda-suzuka-installationHave you always wondered what a McLaren-Honda MP4/5 Formula One car would sound and look like doing a lap around the Japanese Suzuka Grand Prix circuit whilst not actually, physically, driving around the track? No, nor have we. But Honda has, which is why they kitted out the Suzuka track with a million speakers (of undoubtedly superb Japanese quality) and a gazillion LEDs (of an equally superb quality) to revive a very special lap indeed; that of Ayrton Senna's 1989 record lap of the Suzuka track. Making use of the 3.5 litre V10 engine telemetry of that lap, a team of creative talent created a contemporary visualisation of it. And, with the help of the original V10 engine, they also created an elaborate sonification of the telemetry data. The result is a rather spectacular art installation, not to mention a technical marvel of some magnitude, running along the Suzuka track that stimulates the senses (bar an important one of course; sensory stimulation for the nose). Honda has made a couple of videos to accompany the project; the lap itself and a making of. The making of is particularly interesting, showing Honda engineers of the day talking about Senna's driving and it gives airtime to those who created this spectacle. Honda's claim of 'technology that once supported Ayrton Senna, now for your perfect driving experience' might be a bit overenthusiastic, but the videos make for a good few minutes viewing nonetheless.

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Art: Andy Warhol's Seven Cadillacs

Written by Kurt | Saturday, 19 January 2013 19:36

Andy Warhol Seven CadillacsSome weeks ago we looked into some art by the Italian Futurist movement, depicting a car at speed, or at least a silhouette of it. Let's continue this trend by looking at another example of the car in art. This time done by a rather less conspicuous figure, but the highly celebrated Andy Warhol. Undoubtably every single one of you has come across his work at some stage, seeing that his work mostly revolves around object from American consumer culture. You'll see his trademark Campbell's soup tins painting re-published on t-shirts, bags and whatever else. Warhol's work was pop art, art for art's sake, or if you want to have a conversation on this topic with people of an Arts and Humanities persuasion; l'art pour l'art. No specific story, no moral story. In fact Warhol himself once described his work as: "Making money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art." Despite this lack of interest in a moral story, by the artist himself, contemporary art critics nonetheless, as they do, manage to give it a moral significance and some social credibility by pointing out that: "Warhol had captured something irresistible about the zeitgeist of American culture in the 1970s." In that light let's examine briefly one of Warhol's more interesting works for the petrolhead, called Seven Cadillacs, made in 1962 which, unsurpisingly, features seven Cadillacs. Not whole Cadillacs though, but as the eye progresses to the bottom of the painting, bit by bit, the Cadillac is more exposed. Creating, in my opinion, a sense of movement despite of course being part of a static painting. This very much harks back to the chronophotography of the nineteenth century, most notably by a chap called Edward Muybridge, which cleverly managed to depict speed in a series of photos, each depicting another stage of the movement of the subject. What else is there to say? Not much I suppose, oh the perils of pop art, it just shuts one up, momentarily.

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Art: Luigi Russolo's "Dynamism of a car"

Written by Kurt | Saturday, 03 November 2012 23:28

luigi-russolo-dynamism-of-a-carIf we go back into time a bit, to the early twentieth century to be precise, the 'motor car' was still a bit of an oddity, unobtainable for the common man, reserved to the upper classes but clearly a machine with huge potential, one that could change the world. It did of course, years later when manufacturers geared up towards mass production. In the tenties of the last century though, this certainly wasn't the case in Europe. Still, the automobile fascinated the people, not least a bunch of anarchic intellectuals from Italy with a questionable political agenda (they held fascism in high regard). Interestingly, though, they were also a bunch of talented artists who loved speed, movement and thus the automobile. Futurists they were called, their ringleader being writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who published the Futurist Manifesto after going through a near-death experience whilst crashing his Bugatti. Read the Manifesto and you'll see why the car was such an important aspect in the movement. Unsurprisingly it was the subject of many pieces of art the movement produced (read on for some examples).

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Art: Hanns Lohrer & Porsche

Written by Kurt | Sunday, 19 August 2012 12:03

porsche catalogue 356a, hanns lohrer, glove, woman, poodleThe 1950s and 1960s were the years that the foundations for the Porsche legend were built. As with all brands it is not only about the products when creating a brand, it is also about communicating a story and desires. This was no different to Porsche, only Ferry Porsche wasn't very keen on advertising. According to Dieter Landenberger, head of the Porsche archive, Ferry put more value "on personal contact with customers and the common word-of-mouth communication in the sports car scene". But when Ferry saw Hanns Lohrer's work he changed his mind. Hanns Lohrer, was the graphic artist and painter from Stuttgart who basically created the 'world around the cars' that appealed to Porsche buyers. He was soon doing more than making posters depicting trophies of the many race wins the Porsche cars were accumulating all over the world in the middle of the fifties. Examples of his work are a series of ads from 1961 where the Porsche 356 was depicted in the context of sports like golf, hunting or horse riding. In the golf ad for example the car didn't even take centre stage, the main vocal point was a set of golf clubs! Effectively showing what else you could go and do with a Porsche beside driving. The Porsche Museum now recognises Lohrer's work and has set up an exciting exhibition at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart to celebrate the early years of advertising Porsche.

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Art: Analog fixation - industrial artwork by Jason White

Written by Kurt | Tuesday, 17 April 2012 13:32

There we go, yet another new category here on TheRetromobilist; art. Automobile art of course, there's lots of it around, old and new so we thought I'd be a good idea to feature some of it. We kick of with work by Jason White, a collection of great automotive artwork he exhibited at a recent show at the Motor City Brewing Works in the USA's capital of the motor industry, Detroit. Not surprisingly Jason is a car designer, primarily working at Ford after graduating from Detroit's College for Creative Studies with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Transportation Design. It took him on to designing the 2008 Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner interior and other work, before moving on for a stint at Hyundai. All this car designing experience shows, just look at the detailing on these artworks. A wide range of mediums were used to get the desired effect; pencil, pastel, marker, pen, watercolors and, according to the artist, alcohol. Moreover the cars come to life due to the non-standard backgrounds (in my humble opinion). There's something for everyone really, Indycars, Grand Prix, classic cars and even a motorbike. Read on after the jump and enjoy.

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