Art That deadly bore of being stuck in a traffic jam

That deadly bore of being stuck in a traffic jam

Chiara Sabella
Sebastian Koenig |

When we get stuck in traffic we are all the same, everyone in his car feels a universal annoyance, entertains himself as he can and waits. This situation becomes an imaginary journey in Jamming, the latest illustrated story by designer Sebastian König, which presents car travel as an ironic adventure.

Everything is set in the Autobahn, Germany’s highway system and part of König’s childhood memories. Here, time is dilated and marked by little gags, between rest stops, caravans of motorists and gas stations. “It’s like a new world you enter, when you’re on the road if you get stuck there’s no way to escape, you and the other drivers have to accept new rules”, the illustrator explains in an interview with It’s Nice That.

Working by simplification of shapes and colours, König uses a minimal style and grainy textures reminiscent of papier-mâché. The retro aesthetic intentionally references the “boxiness of old cars” and the “ugly beauty” of contemporary infrastructure, which have always fascinated the illustrator. For the artist, in spite of their artificiality, man-made landscapes, such as highways, represent a meeting place and an unprecedented point of view from which to rediscover humanity.

A long car trip also brings with it a host of collateral needs, from having to stretch your legs with a walk in traffic, to fights between children sharing the boredom and the small space. These are basic, often urgent necessities that show the more human aspect of our travels and give the story the flavour of a survival diary. 
Comedic sketches present the variety of situations through simple, ironic details that make each mini-series unique, showing us the highway from every angle. 
As a veteran of road trips, König takes cues from his own funny experiences, focusing on the humor and awkwardness of certain situations. It’s a way of laughing at our own discomforts, when traffic jams and accidents put us in a hurry even if there’s really nothing urgent to do.

Written by Chiara Sabella
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