Urban life can be rewarding and full of surprises. While staying in Vancouver, Canada this June to present the work of Smarter Than Car at Velo-city 2012, I had such a spontaneous urban encounter which demonstrated the power of (bi)cycles as urban tools to (temporarily) program sustainably functioning and culturally active urban landscapes animated by pedal-powered vehicles.
The day after the Velo-city 2012 conference all the stress was gone, participants had cheerfully wrapped up the conference and could still enjoy one day roaming around the city on their BiXi bikes provided to pedal-power Velo-city participants in Vancouver. So I left my hotel with this indestructible bicycle turning towards downtown Vancouver on Burrard street and; What?! I see a Chinese tricycle (sunlunche) on the sidewalk, adapted with a white box to be usable as a mobile DJ console. Very quickly it dawned on me that this must be Jonathan Igharas, a designer from Vancouver who creates (amongst others) cycles as adapted urban tools and who obviously was about to have a good time with one of his creations: The DJ Trike.
With the work of Smarter Than Car we had previously even quoted The DJ Trike as an example of an autonomous urban infrastructure which is able to exploit the advantages of pedal-powered vehicles for cultural events in public space. What we found interesting back then was that The DJ Trike interpreted the diverse Chinese cargo bike (sunlunche) culture in a modern and beautifully designed way, whereas in China the multitude of cargo cycles appeared as backward and from the past (read more about it in this article by Smarter Than Car).
As Jonathan Igharas puts it on his site, the DJ Trike is “a vehicle and platform for urban communication and interaction, as well a method to transcend common perceptions associated with current pedal powered transportation.”
In this post I want to give you impressions of the urban play session which Jonathan Igharas lately performed for a wedding and which I was able to witness. This was not the ‘typical’ urban play session which the collective Labour of Love is performing with the DJ Trike, but showed the flexibility of pedal-powered vehicles when they are used as autonomous cultural devices at spontaneous (urban) events. The awe of people who just left the church being confronted with the DJ Trike playing love songs on the sidewalk of Burrard street was not to miss and showed that great cities need more culturally productive pedal-powered vehicles in operation.
In this sense I want to wish Jonathan and the Labour of Love soundsystem all the best for their future endeavours! To keep updated on the DJ Trike please refer to the DJ Trike’s facebook or twitter and the facebook page of the Labour of Love Soundsystem.
|The DJ Trike's home: Chinatown in Vancouver.|
|The DJ Trike has just been recovered (via social media) from being stolen and therefore the branding had to be renewed.|
|The Labour of Love soundsystem crew; Jonathan Igharas and Tobias Ottahal.|