Today was Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) talk series „China Story 6“ that they invited my do on „Unstoppable: Fixed Gear Bike Culture in Beijing“.
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is a non profit, comprehensive art center founded in Beijing by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens in November 2007. UCCA presents exhibitions of established and emerging artists and develops a trusted platform to share knowledge through education and research. The core of UCCA programs includes conferences, lectures, special events, artistic performances, and films. UCCA activities are a magnet for many kinds of audiences, from art fans and specialists to families and children.
We had arranged with the UCCA management that we could bring some of the fixed gear bikes inside and display them during my talk and performance.
It was nice to see that many people came out to the contemporary art district despite the cold weather, snow on the roads and traffic jams. Even though some came a little bit late. This picture shows part of the audience before I started my talk.
And it was very nice to see some of my friends come, even from as far as Germany.
My talk started with a brief bicycle history explaining that the first bicycles were fixed gear. Then showing the bicycle messenger scene around the world and how that created a sub-culture with many people doing urban cycling and wearing messenger bags. Then I showed how the first people started riding fixed gear in China and how big the Beijing fixed gear group now is with over 80 cyclists.
I then also asked some people of our Beijing Fixed Gear Group to come on up and explain why they ride fixed gear bicycles. The first one was my friend GMing.
And then I took off my clothes and did a trick bike performance. Well of course not all clothes. My bicycle show was very well received and I had many people come up to me afterwards.
In the question and answer session one Chinese person made a nice comment saying that he hopes that I can inspire people to follow me and ride bicycles like Forrest Gump in the movie when he started running across the USA and then had many people follow him. All in all it was a very nice event.
Afterwards I went with my friends to eat some cheese fondue. Julien found a nice way to explain to geeks what fixed gear bikes are. They are like Linux: Most people do not understands why people use it but the people using it have huge fun. And there are more and more people using it. And actually I am a linux user too.
Just recently I uploaded my talk I had given last November at the Beijing TED event up to slideshare. You can click here and have a look at that presentation. The topic I had chosen for that event was „Changes of Perception – Bicycle Culture in China“. At that TEDxBeijing conference I wanted to inspire people to ride bicycles and change their perception of bikes being something for poor people.