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Psychotherapy With BMW's GINA Concept

  • June 13, 2008
  • BMW, Road Noise
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So, by now you’ve seen BMW’s GINA concept car. (And if you haven’t, jeez I have to do everything around here.) Opinions here at VehicleVoice World Internet Headquarters and House of Waffles are sharply divided: Steph thinks it’s intriguing, and I think it hungers for human souls.
We were going to argue about it – you may not have noticed, but I’m only happy when I’m in a quarrel – but then I realized, “Wait, this is just what BMW wants us to do!” Because GINA isn’t so much as a car as a Rorschach test made from an umbrella frame and an old swimsuit.
Work with me here.

GINA: The blank slate upon which the observer inscribes her insecurities.

Geometry and functions In ‘NAdaptions” – or GINA, as her friends call her – is a shapeshifter built by the folks at BMW as a zen exercise in moving beyond the old design box of static panels. Tired of that old hood? In the mood for a spoiler? GINA can adapt.
And here we are back at the Rorschach test: GINA reflects your wants and fears. Make her sleek and laid back or sharp and aggressive, depending on how crazy you are or aren’t on any given day.
Onlookers can play the same game. For instance, you can look at GINA’s hood opening and see a triumph of design and materials science. And I can look at the same picture and see a giant alien chestburster spider, which, I think, is symbolic of my twin fears of illness and of giant alien spiders burrowing through my chest.

Oh god, please tell me you see it, too.

Or you can watch the doors glide through their paces and think, “How did they do that? What a glorious age we live in in this, the best of all possible worlds!” And I can think, “The fabric wrinkles up like an old lady’s elbows. I’m not getting any younger, and I’m probably going to die alone.”
Fear of mortality? Check.

And while you might look at GINA’s adaptable-but-functional features – such as headlights that blink out of existence during the day, seats that conform to the body and an instrument panel that slides forward to meet the driver – and realize that BMW is taking the first step toward a future where machinery and biology harmonize in creations that are functional and beautiful. And I can realize that my worst fears are coming true and we will soon be at the mercy of our robot masters. And we’d both be correct!
Stay very still; its vision is based on movement.

So kudos, Chris Bangle and the BMW design team: You’ve given us an automotive inkblot to ponder for years to come. And a nervous breakdown, but I don’t think that was what you were shooting for. Still, good job.

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