Wednesday, June 19, 2013


A more obvious variation of the theme of this project, followed below by a bit of an expansion of conversations I find myself having whilst straddling various camps.


It has occurred to me, in my attempt to fill a gap between art worlds and bike worlds that there is a lot of specialist language that is employed between the two.  Certainly, this is not a revelation and this kind of thing occurs in all subcultures.  These nuances of language are developed both for a need to be able to have highly specific and resolved communication and also become present in more informal contexts.  These less formal applications include things like the use of slang which has built in cultural implications that indicate complex understandings and can be applied in ways that can leave outsiders feeling excluded.

Let me give you some examples that are fitting to this project.  If I was talking to a trained art head I would talk about things like how I am interested in notions of hacking, hijacking and punk.  More specifically, I would make reference to movements such as Arte Povera, Grunge and maybe even take a stab at the idea of freak bikes being related the notion of the abject and it’s reanimation of things otherwise dead or discarded.

There are those people I know who are left leaning, politically, who I would talk to about the idea of freak bike culture purposefully rejecting existing systems of order, opposing primary elements of commodity based culture and encouraging DIY in the post apocalyptic sense rather than the Jamie Durie sense.  I might even try to strike up a conversation about true radical creativity.

To my bike buddies I talk about things such as bike-packing, how the relative head angle of a tall bike effects the trail of the fork, overall weight position and the machine’s tendency to perform uncontrollable mad wheelies and my futile attempts at joining delicate 4130 tubing with the decidedly undelicate process of arc welding.  Most of these conversations are relevant to an understanding of all things two-wheeled and pedallable and are shared with the majority of my long term bike friends who tend to have a passion for anything that vaguely resembles a bicycle.  They, in-turn, have arrived at their specific points via original interests in specific cycling subcultures such as BMX, MTB, fixed or road, all of which have a specifc set of language and understandings. Indeed, most of these specific subcultures act as a bit of a gateway drug to get riders hooked into a lifetime of bicycle use.

So, after all of that nonsense, I would expect that you are scratching your head in confusion, regarding one angle or another.  At this point, I must also make clear, that there is no quick way to resolve these gaps, only that it is up to those people who use specialist language not to use it in anger and to help out those who are still coming up to speed.  Similarly, don’t be intimidated by big words, just consider them another step forward in your own ongoing language adventure.

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