Speed Limits

September 17 2010 - February 20 2011
Sixth and Seventh Floors

One hundred years ago, the Manifesto of Futurism proclaimed that “the world's magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed." A century later, the tempo of life continues to accelerate, propelled by the democratization of air travel and automobility and by the ubiquity of portable media and communications devices. Speed sports are as popular as ever; the wheels of commerce and banking spin at dizzying speeds; and the tempo of entertainment forms, from the television news to interactive media, is brisker than a mere decade ago. Business books with titles like The Need for Speed, Speed Is Life, Rev It Up, and The Age of Speed proliferate on bookstore shelves as never before.

Yet speed seems anything but beautiful to a growing chorus of voices denouncing its deleterious impact upon contemporary life, whether from the standpoint of environmental devastation, stressful lifestyles, urban sprawl, out-of-control derivatives markets, or its effects upon bodies (fast food) and minds (attention deficit disorders).

Speed Limits probes the powers and limits of the modern era's cult of speed in five key domains: circulation and transit, construction and the built environment, efficiency, the measurement and representation of rapid motion, and the mind/body relationship. Critical rather than commemorative in spirit, it explores a single Futurist theme from the standpoint of its contemporary legacies. It is an exhibition about complex choices and complex consequences, about polarities but also about intertwinings between the fast and the slow.

Speed Limits was co-organized by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Montréal and The Wolfsonian–Florida International University, Miami Beach.

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Speed Limits