friday nite lites

is the classic scoreboard the lite-brite of the sportocracy?

certainly the only patterns that may be punctured on its face are those that inscribe the rectilinear number-patterns of time and score. but how could they do such a thing? numbers are round and luscious and flowing and curvilinear: gestural markings on a surface, yes, though never meant to be pinpricks of light programmed for a screen-based display (and today's jumbotron fonts are not gestures of the same order, either).

Lite-Brite Scoreboard

if "all production produces production," as deleuze and guattari suggest, then we must trace the flows: it was the card stunt that taught us about these coded sign systems infiltrating the gridded spaces of the sports stadium almost a century ago. there, too, gesture was captured, though with them light was merely reflected to the viewing eye, not produced in its own right. with the electronic scoreboard, on the other hand, it is the produced light of monochromatic incandescent bulbs that is always in the service of the official record: time and produced output, or what we call score.

Scoreboard Font

two squares of potential in this lite-brite pattern. what about all the space in between, or the enclosure within the enclosure? what if the "invisible" layer of black paper and its prescribed pattern was removed from the scoreboard? what if its brite lites were pushed into the holes in freely formed patterns? what if the lites could illuminate from positions embedded in the plastic grid itself?

Courtesy of Colleen Wolstenholme

colleen wolstenholme
victory lane (2004) — line of scrimmage (2004) — slap shot (2008)

what if the scoreboard lite-brite could be layered upon itself — perhaps repeatedly — such that multiple games were being recorded at the same time — perhaps one giving the cover of reduced exposure to the other?

The Muscle Car

What is it to be "high performance"? Does it simply mean to be the best in the field of sports? If so, that is curious, as we do not speak of "high performance musicians" or "high performance actors" or "high performance doctors".

No, the language of late modern sport is the language of the machine, and one would talk of high performance in this context as if describing a particularly well-oiled engine, tweaked and tuned to achieve maximum velocity. Citius, altius, fortius is how one might understand it in translation.

In this sense we may consider the "high performance athlete" the siamese inverse of the "muscle car", with the machinic reading of the former intimately connected to the anthropometric reading of the latter.

With that in mind, one can only note the irony after Michael Waltrip's crew chief was fined and suspended at the Daytona 500 NASCAR race for illegally injecting a substance contained in jet fuel into Waltrip's car.

Citius, altius, fortius, copiosus?

Who is in Control?

Who is in control of this cyborgian coupling (emphasis added)?

The fact that "Sauber had approached Anthony Davidson emphatically tells us one thing: Sauber is preparing for life after Jacques Villeneuve," Autosport deputy editor Jim Holder told CBC Sports Online.

. . .

"The car isn't giving Jacques the feedback he needs to get a feel for the braking, which at least in part led to his Malaysian mistake," stated Holder. "Jacques says the team needs to work harder to get the car suited to him, but the team feels, at least in part, it is Jacques who should be adapting to their car."

. . .

How does Villeneuve account for his less-than-stellar results for Sauber? Prior to the Malaysian race, he told reporters he was struggling to adjust to the electronics and mechanics of the car.

"F1 has evolved a lot, mainly on the electronics side, and it takes a long time to get used to everything," he told a Formula One news conference. "The other thing is that with the electronics you have now, you don't feel everything that is happening.

"You become a bit of a passenger in the car and that is very different from what I'm used to."

(via CBC Sports)


Virilio, Open Sky:

[I]t is revealing to consider the historic evolution of the various 'drivers' cabins. In the recent past, for instance, one drove in the open air, in contact with the atmosphere, listening to the sound of the engine and the wind, and feeling the cell of the machine vibrate; but today excessive speed has contributed to the driver's being gradually shut away, initially behind the screen of his goggles, then behind the windscreen and finally, right inside the sedan.

Pioneers drove 'by instinct'; this gave way to driving 'by instrument' and then to 'automatic' steering, to say nothing of the remote-control piloting which an unbelievable assortment of machines have these days.

How can we fail to see that the love relationship will suffer exactly the same fate, with the cybernetic steering of disunited lovers? The remote piloting of sensations and so of physical enjoyment will one day soon echo the loss of contact with the body of that voluptuous 'speed machine' that envelops the driver so closely that an expert, Ayrton Senna, once claimed he not only slipped into his flame-proof Formula One driver's bodysuit, but that he also literally put on his racing car (p.110, emphasis in original).