"I Have Seen the Future": Selling the Interstate Highway System
The Interstate highway legislation of 1956 transformed American landscapes, resulting in what architectural critic Jane Holtz Kay has termed an "asphalt nation" and what historian Cotten Seiler has called a "republic of drivers" bound by "compulsory automobility." This talk will analyze the early years of highway advocacy when Alfred Sloan of General Motors led a national lobby to press for federal spending and Norman Bel Geddes created a 1939 GM exhibit called "Futurama" with the slogan, "I have seen the future." Geddes constructed two representations of the national landscape to persuade citizens of local benefits, but his two most effective designs manipulated the bodies and spatial perceptions of millions of spectators who visited the exhibit.
Location: Russell House All Rooms Sponsor: Center for the Humanities URL: Contact: Erinn Savage, email@example.com