Don’t be misled by the title of this article, CineCars most certainly follows the lead of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. On a quest for a certain truth.
Recently The Wall Street Journal published an article on plans of the Chinese government to fit every new sold vehicle in the country with a location chip come July 1st of this year. No GPS location, but a system broadcasting a radio signal that will be monitored by sensors at the side of the road. The system isn’t unique, in some parts of the United States and Mexico a similar system is being used, albeit on a small scale. The generic implantation of such a system in a country like China, where every single year almost 30 million new cars are being sold, is unprecedented. The official reading by the Chinese authorities is all about safety and the battle against terrorism. Organizations like Human Rights Watch are convinced that this is no less than the most recent step of the Chinese government in its persistent attempts to control the social order in the country. Big Comrade is watching you!
News like this makes people think. The word privacy being the first to ring every possible alarm bell. The proverbial freedom of owning ones own motor vehicle that last century brought upon us, suddenly seems endangered. Once again. Toll booths, environmental and congestion zones, everywhere we go our cars are monitored, registered and, when necessary, fined. The moment we find a parking space, we submit our registration number to an online app, whenever we start up the navigation our GPS connects to a network, the amount of data we share on a daily basis is unreal. Unreal and a cast iron reality at the very same time. The Chinese taking it one step beyond most likely will have something to do with the way their country is structured with an irrespective urge to control. That this kind of news makes us all feel somehow qualmish, is because of the latent knowledge that there is no way to escape this scary reality.
Of course, our beloved classic does not have any computers, no built in sat-nav and no GPS. We try to convince ourselves that the specific classic registration numbers will not be recognized by foreign systems when abroad, but we all know that sooner or later the fines will hit our mailbox anyway. At our own home, at our specific home address, they’ll find us. Afraid of petty criminals, we do fit our cherished motorcars with GPS trackers. It’s ever so convenient and fear will conquer everything in the end. We stumble in to the trap with our eyes wide shut. We know, have it happening to us and participate in the whole thing without even blinking an eye. As lemmings we follow the masses. Big Brother has become an outdated television format. In Orwell’s novel it seemed pretty clear who was behind it all, Big Brother was almighty and infallible. In 2018, 34 years further into the future than the writer ever dared to look, we live in a world where power and world domination have become a somewhat abstract conception. Money is what keeps the world turning and even that is becoming more and more virtual.
Tinkering in our shed, we enjoy the smell of petrol and freshly applied grease. Are our hands impregnated with the tangible filth of 250 years of industrial revolution. A thick layer of ignorance on our soul covering the dormant resistance against the internet of things. Lets give the starter button another push, hear the mechanism come to life, fuel being transferred into fire. The magic of freedom, audible, visible, tangible. What joy!
Marc GF Zaan