Wednesday, 4 April 2012

 Leopard Tank at Royal Military College

Machinery of all kinds has a sensual appeal.  Military machinery is one of the few kinds of machinery whose purpose is expressed directly through form.  It doesn't have to look cool, or fast, or cute.  It's just meant to kill someone, and every part of the machine works toward that purpose.

The surface of this Leopard is as cold, unyielding, and unresonant as stone.  There is no obvious entrance, no obvious place to look out of, no evidence of the warm soft bodies that work inside:

"In the tanks it was close, hot, and noisy, as if one sat in a boiler on which steamfitters hammered.  It smelled of oil, gasoline, and rubber, scorched insulating tape, asbestos and - should we come into the firing zone - of powder, which puffed out of the cartridges.  We felt concussions in the soft ground, then sharper and nearer impacts, the direct hits.  These were not the glory days of the cavalry... but hot machine work, obscure and without glory."
                        -The Glass Bees, by Ernst Juenger

 Military machines are a part of "public works".  Imagine one working on your street.

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