The knowledge of the car driver is perhaps the most complete form of knowledge available to us in both the private and public spheres of knowledge. He (for the car driver is always male, the form has not yet found a way of accommodating female insights into how to navigate oneself around the world) knows how to use Satnav, A – Z or his own innate capabilities in recognising how the world roads systems should connect up; how to surround himself with the perfect soundtrack which mirrors how his own internal emotional turmoil connects to his public confidence in the morals of the highway code; and how his mpg will accurately predict his eta. On a good day, the drivers knowledge is both organic and inorganic, both evolved and constructed: man and machine are perfectly melded. On a bad day, you find yourself on the M25.
Arts based research has a particularly effective role to play if the driver finds himself on the Moebius Loop that is the modern outer city motorway. Poetry, site specific installations and bricolage can be bought into play on the car dashboard, creating new interpretations on ancient themes of mans inhumanity to man, the place of God in a Godless society and the existence of the Devil. The only risk to the driver is that by becoming so immersed in the knowledge that this research generates, they miss the turning for the Dartford Tunnel and are doomed to repeat their journey for a further 120 miles.
The double decker bus driver has the resources of at least 11 on board CCTV cameras on their bus.
This gives them the benefit of knowing where he or she is going. They know too, pretty much, how they’re gonna get there, how long it will take and these days, with the added value of GPS, know what the conditions are going to be like ahead of them. They will also know that in large cities especially, the traffic lights will be rigged in their favour. They may not know however why they’re going where they’re going – but that kind of existential question is also beyond pretty much every taxi driver too so they’re both in the same boat in that respect (NB boat – not taxi or bus).
The main significant advantage of the bus drivers knowledge however is the fact that should he or she wish, they have access to upto 56 other people’s knowledge about the reasons for their journeys. This would give them a superior knowledge of the traveller and their lived experiences: adding to the ongoing epistemiological crisis of the taxi driver who these days neither knows nor cares why they’re going somewhere, how much it costs or even how to get there.
Of course, the bus driver may not have the time or skill to elicit those knowledges from their passengers. This is where arts based research can play a major role in making the bus journey a much more enriching experience for everyone. They will make living the good life, an even more likely proposition.