By Mayken Craenen - Mediamatic has embarked on a journey through the world of the fixed gear bike, working towards an interesting exhibition about the bicycle and the culture that surrounds it. Because the best ideas are often generated during an exchange between like-minded enthusiasts, we decided to organize a series of Rounds, during which a diverse group of fixie users and lovers can share their stories and ideas. Our main guests of the evening were Gijs and Sammy from Pristine Fixed Gear, and Vera van de Nieuwenhof and Cheryl Gallaway, curators of the Cyclic event that took place last year in the Chiellerie Gallery in Amsterdam. We also welcomed Saskia Haex, Kees Vernooij, DUS Architects and a surprising number of fixiefans from under our own roof.
After a hot Indian meal in a polar setting, Vera and Cheryl kicked off with a presentation of their own cultural cycling event. For Cyclic, the ladies were inspired by a shared passion for going out and riding nice bikes. Both already had firm roots in the biking scene; Vera as ex-messenger and founder of the CycleSlutz team, and Cheryl as a photographer of bike-related subjects. Curious about more qualitative bike art, they started a blog together and quickly realized they had hit the right cord. A bit unexpectedly, a three-day program took shape, filled with poetry, music, events, artworks and items for sale. Vera and Cheryl were very pleased, but hadn't forgotten about cycling. Their heads are full of fresh ideas waiting to be realized. For example, the different styles and profiles of their bike-loving visitors made them dream of a bike fashion event. The lengthy poem on Tour de France and epo called for more literary experiments.
Next up were Gijs and Sammy from Amsterdam's Pristine Fixed Gear. Although Gijs is educated as a graphic designer and Sammy as a social worker, they have ended up running a bike shop together. However, they have managed to fuse it with their respective personal dreams: a gallery for Gijs and a tearoom for Sammy. With a webshop, a blog and a forum, they expanded their activities online. That way, Pristine became much more than a shop: it became a meeting point that tied the loose ends of the Amsterdam fixed gear scene together. The motivation behind the whole enterprise is a pure love for the fixie as “the best machine ever invented”. While biking is a brave statement and a conscious lifestyle in NY, it has become a daily routine in our flat lands. Gijs and Sammy believe that the fixed bike's functional essence and aesthetic purity can stir Dutch cycle culture and attract new bike loving crowds. They will happily assist Mediamatic in helping people discover the fun in biking, and therefore they love the idea of integrating an indoor velodrome or a good fast Rollapalooza in the exhibition.
The movie Macaframa stirred our imagination with its breathtaking images and sense of freedom. The first bike tricks recorded by Edison made us laugh at our own braveness (keep watching until the end!). MC Spandex and Ines Brunn ensured some nice, entertaining moments. Gijs left us some copies of the book Fixed, which provides you with a clear overview of the culture, the bikes and the riders, and will quickly help fill the gaps in our fixie knowledge.