So 3rd ward in Bushwick,
is this big art space offering space and classes. They have office space available, a wood shop and a metal shop. They have studio space for photographs or perhaps an insert stage for film and video purposes. They also offer classes...cool things like electronics for artists and introduction to MIG welding. They have passes that for $300.00 a month you can have access to all of their facilities and make the art of your dreams. Add another $150.00 and you can have a desk.
They contacted me about their new class in May called: Mutant Bicycle Mechanics and it reads something like this:
Teachers: Carlos Valpeoz & David Messinio
6 classes on Tuesdays 7-9pm
Price: $450.00 + $40.00 materials fee.
This course will introduce students to an entirely new aspect of bicycle culture. The focus is to allow the students to fully understand the mechanics of a bicycle while allowing them to build their own mutant bike out of raw steel and recycled bicycle parts (i.e. tall bikes, tricycles, chopper bikes, tandem bikes, bike carriages, etc.)
Students will be persuaded to conceptualize at home, bring in their ideas, rationalize, and create whatever is feasible in class. With the aide of introductory machining and welding processes, students will be able to use their imagination and response to raw and pre-existing material to create a form of transportation that is aesthetically sound and entirely functional. A 6 day shop pass will be included in the price of the class so that student can work on their own during the term of the class. This course is an introduction to mechanics of bicycle components, bicycle maintenance, welding and light bicycle fabrication. People with any or no experience in these areas are encouraged to attend this class.
huh? I dunno about you but this seems a little weird. I mean, I'm all for putting more bikes on the streets that are colorful and cool but sounds to me like another large whiff of "Bike Culture is for sale." How can you have a class on bike culture...Is 3rd ward going to have classes on being a squatter and dumpster diving and how to be a radical anarchist. For $450.00. You can buy a bike for cheaper but it won't be as cool and people won't think your part of some bicycle gang.
I guess instructors Carlos Valpeoz & David Messinio must be design majors in radical mutant bicycle building. I mentioned many of these points to 3rd Ward, in a length, heartfelt email that reminded them about the vandalism of Brooklyn Industries and offered advice to not to be so blantant about this kind of thing. I asked them, why can't you just have welding classes and people will build what they want.
They didn't respond...which pisses me off even more, especially because their original contact email was warm and inviting and told me if I had any questions to get back to them. They must be far to busy figuring out how to package culture into a $450.00 class.
Well folks, welcome to the future of NYC living...when all of our public space is sold off to developers and real estate moguls and all the culture makers and artists will be left with is spaces in which you have to make your art for large sums of money.
To be fair, these aren't radical prices for 6 days and lab time for welding classes but they didn't take my advice and they don't want to respond in a community sort of way so I can only assume that they are just interested in money and want to sell off our culture because its cool and sexy from all the hard work we did FOR FREE!
So, maybe bad press is good for them...they got a plug anyway...but remember you can make Tallbikes for free in the few remaining FREE spaces we have left until Bloomberg sells them off or Ratner evicts them with eminent domain.
One is the Freegans...What is Freeganism? Freeganism=living beyond capitalism. In a society of massive overconsumption, enormous quantities of usable resources go to waste. Through dumpster diving, squatting, guerilla gardening and other strategies, freegans transform waste into resources to meet real needs, allowing us to live our values of ecological sustainability, cooperation & sharing while reducing our contribution to capitalism's abuse of humans, animals and the earth.
contact the freegans about bike building by calling Janet (347) 724-6954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Freegan website
Also, as part of Bike Month, Time's up is offering a welding workshop FOR FREE on May 27th at 49 East Houston. The class won't be enough time to complete a tallbike, but you can get time on a welder and TIMES up is always open to promote bike culture for the right price...FREE.
I will be leading a class on May 25th, 2007 called: "Critical Mass bicycle riding" Here students can learn how to avoid arrest by the police and how to freely assemble without a permit...while in the friendly classroom of the streets and a safe environment filled with 40,000 cops all on crack. Maybe they can bring their new shiny $500 tallbikes and choppers to the event. Probably won't because its cool to make bike culture but not cool to participate in it.
I am also working on some new ciriculum called: How to live in an unaffordable city and a history class on how we have lost all of our squats, community centers and free spaces so Bloomberg can get rich. Look for it soon. All classes are $500 + $150 fee for me to buy tallbikes at Walmart, made in China and promoted on MTV's new reality show...Radical Bikers gone wild.