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[End Page 250]

The architecture of the interchange creates an overlapping world of heightened and withdrawn visibility. Pathways cross over one another, concretely, yet with little parity of awareness. Stacked layers, vaulted like cathedrals, offer bursts of solitary recess among their grand colonnades. Corridors wind and tunnel through others, infuse past into present, only to veer off again, channeling excess into stabilizing plains.

Entwined among the swirling ramps and colonnades of this particular interchange, a motel and a church once stood. They floated amid the concrete expanse like atolls, having avoided annexation for the construction of the massive concrete facility that engulfed them. The history of the freeways could in one way or another be told from the twin perspectives of their hallowed walls, etched upon their surfaces like the transit syntax on the pavement all around: a roiling transport environment whose disruptions they once helped alleviate but that had now outgrown them, turned its gaze upon them and found them wanting.

Some maintained that the proprietor of the motel, a staunch preservationist with ties to the underworld, had managed to avoid expropriation through illicit connections and clandestine dealing. Others suggested it was due to the motel's historic status, given that it was one of the first of its kind in the nation and one of the last to survive. It was difficult to imagine it having gained this kind of support, however, given [End Page 251] the general indifference accorded such establishments on behalf of the public. This one in particular seemed to generate a unique kind of ontological dread, as if its very presence required you to gaze into some dark abyss, or rather, sense its gaze upon you across a nullifying concrete void. Which would have been the experience of an overnight stay.

Though once a venerated stop for weary motorists traveling west, the motel had all but collapsed from the subsonic vibrations that rattled its halls. It was one of those establishments that somehow managed to carry on absent any clientele that could be detected by the befuddled populace that sped by, and which seemed to fade from view like an old photograph, dissolving into the undergrowth that rose around it and the layer of sediment that coated its facade.

The means through which the church had managed to avoid seizure were more evident, given the constitutional protections accorded the exercise of worship. While the state was prohibited from annexing the territory entirely for the planned construction, the ingenious arguments deployed by its lead attorney had gained it a partial victory: the court permitted elevated ramps to be built atop the parish grounds, on the basis that they placed no burden on its religious freedoms. These arguments had been backed by statistical analyses whose authority went unquestioned. In one way or another, both state and church representatives were in agreement with regard to the power of the calculations, differing only on the matter of the source of the truth they conveyed. Whether it was of secular or celestial nature did not, ultimately, matter. Causal models were unimportant. Correlations ruled.

Data does not simply register the patterns of the moving but participates in the mobilization of the measured.

The court conducted its deliberations in an Extender sedan, hence the availability of the data that we draw upon here in the recounting. It is worth reviewing these proceedings in detail. The nuances are crucial. The incremental steps that lead to phenomena of high significance are rarely given their due. Their effects are all too easily resolved, their social dynamics and political forms all too easily bracketed historically, streamlined in larger unifying narratives, condensed in standardized operations, shelved within descriptive and classifying scaffolds that limit true regard. The unknown is reduced to the known, stripped of what is unaccountable and truly strange, and consequently, one forgets how truly mystifying is the known, how unruly and quizzical its base. Informing is cyclical, a time of being that runs beneath the irreversible march of history. True learning, devoid of undue presumption, requires attuning to the truth of iterative operations that stretch beyond the...


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