Language is more than just communication, it influences culture, thoughts, and our perception of reality.
By taking a test drive in the AC Propulsion eBox, an electric car, I noticed there was no "gas" pedal
anymore. The pedal was really the "juice" pedal and braking started by "regenerating" when I let go of the
"juice" pedal. All of this got me thinking about language and its power over culture. Over 12 years ago, not
many of us even knew what a megapixel was; now it's ubiquitous. Words like blog, texting, and its ugly
cousin, sexting have permeated American society. Narrow knowledge of the words becomes broad
knowledge as usage becomes more common. How society categorizes objects and symbols provides
insights to their values, concerns, and interests in the culture. Words are social agreements among
people which infuse the subject with meaning. To use the same language used by describing internal combustion cars for electric cars is not acknowledging the difference in the subject itself. We see the
world through the lens of language, so there must be a new language for electric/hybrid cars to usher in
this new world of eco-green.
In ELECTRON, a series of teaser ads lead to the main article showing new lexicons for the electric-powered
car. New phrases are used in a sentence and a definition is accompanied so enthusiasts can start using
them. Current automobile lexicon was used as inspiration, as well as new terms for electric powered cars
are introduced to the literate car nut. While pedestrians are bemoaning the silence of electric/hybrid cars,
the clever use of language can make this feature extremely cool to car lovers. Being in STEALTH MODE
implies a powerful persona for the hybrid car, connecting it to flat black stealth fighter jets. The new
language changes perceptions of these eco-cars, and creates excitement and power for them. The words
"gearhead" and "petrolhead" will soon be an anachronism. The day of the VOLTHEAD has come and it
is not going anywhere.
¬©2010 Yee Chan & Art Center College of Design