Travel is for me, the best of Yokoyama’s books to date; it is tight, focused and is exhaustive in its depiction of its subject matter. Like the engineering stories covered previously, the book is light on plot, in this case: three people catch the train. But plot is not the point, rather the book is a visceral account of travelling at high speeds through the contemporary landscape, from trains station, to open countryside through small towns and eventually arriving in the metropolis. Along the way someone smokes a cigarette, they pass another train, they move through a tunnel and so on. All of this is captured in Yokoyama’s stylised line, isometric buildings and benday dots. Yokoyama’s art is thrilling and totally captivating. The assured lifework, the abstracted figures (although less so than in Yokoyama’s other works; there are no visor heads or beak faces in this one), the absurdist landscapes, and the express depiction of speed. The whole thing moves relentlessly forward like the train that is its setting.
Where the the engineering stories were concerned with the act of terraforming, the construction of a series of radical artificial landscapes with the protagonists acting as observers and occasional participants, in Travel they are passengers, along for the ride.
The following are some scans of the book. (Note the pages are read manga style, right to left.)
Lighting a cigarette.
As the train moves through a forest, we find the books only use of spotted blacks, the sharp contrast capturing the strobing effect of moving under the canopy of the trees.
Pet Architecture makes an appearance:
Sunlight after the rain, crystal prisms of sunlight after the rain and more spotted blacks.
Our gentlemen friends arrive at their destination.