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Title: Hot wheels, cool cars, and an aesthetics of simulation
Authors: Austin, Andrea
Keywords: Hot Wheels toys
Cool (The English word)
Issue Date: 2019-12
Publisher: University of Malta. Department of English
Citation: Austin, A. (2019). Hot wheels, cool cars, and an aesthetics of simulation. Antae Journal, 6(2-3), 103-117.
Abstract: This article considers Mattel’s miniature cars, Hot Wheels, and the aesthetic meanings of the word “cool”. It addresses the material object (the toy cars), the graphic art, and film representations in order to trace four specific aesthetic relationships: first, the relationship between shine, reflection, and transparency as necessary components for the assessment of “cool”; second, the ways in which these attributes also function as visual coding for Baudrillard's “hyperreal”; third, the ways in which this coding forges associative links between fantasy and simulation; and, lastly, the coincidence of this coding with evolutionary instincts. Following the development of the toy cars in the 1960s through to the 2000s, a development which has culminated in a media network that includes graphic art and animated feature films, as well as the toys and accessories, this article argues that the car, the act of driving, and the aestheticisation of reflective surfaces not only help to define the word “cool” but have also become defining symbols of technological postmodernity.
Appears in Collections:Antae Journal, Volume 6, Issue 2-3
Antae Journal, Volume 6, Issue 2-3

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