An essay brief on fossil capitalism, set in historical Manhattan. Who am I behind the wheel? Or even: what kind of an image of ourselves, or our cities, does the car offer? Culling licks from Eula Biss, Trotsky and Ijeoma Oluo, the voice-over reframes period streets where horses and cars jostle for space in the narrowing streets. “As unthinkable as a traffic jam” they might have uttered once. How to hear the voices, feel the enforced sweat and muscle that built these roads, this way of life? Class struggle, water vs oil, herb pickers.
The seat that I get to sit in, the frame that is given to me so that I can see the world around me, is a car. And I can’t help notice that there aren’t so many other cars out here, they’re so shiny and strange, the camera uncovers them like animals about to become extinct. I guess it’s obvious that it’s not just anyone who can own a car. This place, the place of the viewer, the view from the car, is reserved for the ruling class.