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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-24-08, 07:20 AM   #1
raster
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Bikes as art objects?

I think I'm pretty okay with the idea of a beautiful bike that's either too impractical to ride (wacked out geometry, absurd gear ratios) or just way overbuilt for conditions (aerospok, phil wood hubs) as long as you think of it as an art object and not a piece of functional machinery. Of course, it's much better to combine both beauty and usability to create the perfect storm of awesome, but sometimes you can only get it one way. Thoughts?
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Old 07-24-08, 07:24 AM   #2
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i have seen many fine examples of the combination of beauty and function...i see my bike as a piece of functional art, that's why i love it so much and have to leave my desk thoughout the day to appreciate it

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Old 07-24-08, 07:37 AM   #3
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I think I'm pretty okay with the idea of a beautiful bike that's either too impractical to ride (wacked out geometry, absurd gear ratios) or just way overbuilt for conditions (aerospok, phil wood hubs) as long as you think of it as an art object and not a piece of functional machinery. Of course, it's much better to combine both beauty and usability to create the perfect storm of awesome, but sometimes you can only get it one way. Thoughts?

Absurd gear ratios as art? Blowing a bunch of money on whatever the most faddish parts are and throwing them together is a pretty pitiful form of artistic expression. Creating an original and uniquely designed frame and complementing that with appropriate parts could be however. I doubt thats what you're talking about however.
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Old 07-24-08, 07:49 AM   #4
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In the same way as some people have modified cars that they feel are art. In a subtle way they can be beautiful, if it is beatiful and practical that is the most fun (for the owner)
If yougo overboard and are afraid to take it on the road and would prefer it sit in the garage and only go out with friends on absolutely clear days only for the purpose of taking pictures and sharing it with others... then it's too much for me... It's just a bike/car...
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Old 07-24-08, 07:50 AM   #5
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I don't see the point of a bike that isn't rideable. Art object? Get real. I think the expression you were looking for is "status symbol".

If you want to create an art object, may I suggest watercolors? Loads of fun.
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Old 07-24-08, 07:56 AM   #6
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expression of self through modification of transport is ages old. i think hanging your bike on the wall permanently is kinda lame tho. just like i think cars trailered to the show are bull****.
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Old 07-24-08, 07:56 AM   #7
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I hear your argument but in what way would an Aerospo<e be less functional than a (insert wheel you ride)? How impractical a gear ratio would deem it absurd? How relaxed, compact or otherwise described geometry would put it in the "wacked out" catagory? Are you suggesting bikes like the TrackStar Concepts are not both pieces of fuctional machinery and art pieces? The definition of art is so speculative that I dont think anyone can put a bracket on where a bike starts becoming a piece of art and stops... either going back to simple functional machinery or leaping into the world of the "how is that even worth riding" catagory.

A bike goes from a piece of art to a functional piece of machinery when you remove it from your wall and ride it.
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Old 07-24-08, 08:22 AM   #8
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The only art going on was in the parts designers' studios. Putting the parts together doesn't qualify as art, IMHO.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:08 PM   #9
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Well, what I was thinking of were some bikes that seem to be designed to be looked at rather than ridden, and that being their primary function. Perhaps I didn't express it very well, but it hit me while looking through a blog where someone had photographed a whole bunch of very beautiful thought slightly overdone bikes as if they were sculptures. And it got me thinking.

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A bike goes from a piece of art to a functional piece of machinery when you remove it from your wall and ride it.
I think that's an extremely good point.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:41 PM   #10
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"In 1913 I had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool and watch it turn." - Duchamp, Apropos of Readymades, 1951
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Old 07-25-08, 04:15 PM   #11
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I hear your argument but in what way would an Aerospo<e be less functional than a (insert wheel you ride)? How impractical a gear ratio would deem it absurd? How relaxed, compact or otherwise described geometry would put it in the "wacked out" catagory? Are you suggesting bikes like the TrackStar Concepts are not both pieces of fuctional machinery and art pieces? The definition of art is so speculative that I dont think anyone can put a bracket on where a bike starts becoming a piece of art and stops... either going back to simple functional machinery or leaping into the world of the "how is that even worth riding" catagory.

A bike goes from a piece of art to a functional piece of machinery when you remove it from your wall and ride it.
i could not agree more. i know since you have a history of tuning that you can relate to this, but in building a car to fit your own personal vision, or a bike, it is in a sense a form of art. i think you should still be able to utilize the object as it was intended - riding/driving, but sometimes it is nice to have a beautiful piece of art - bike/car but it should never be created to where you can not use it.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:22 PM   #12
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i'm an art major. That said all art isn't meant to hang on a wall. There are many forms of art that encourage the viewer to interact with it, this makes the experience of interacting with the artist piece the art.

RichPugh and hockdub I know you have seen your fair share of trailor queens in our VW scene. I can respect someone for putting that kind of work into a car but and it's fair for them to not drive it because it's theirs. I however enjoy driving my cars and bikes like and testing out the new upgrades I put on them. I'd have no idea how well my coilovers or new bike wheels felt if they never got used. lol.
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Old 07-25-08, 08:59 PM   #13
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^agree and ^^agree
i've noticed all the fixie riding/vw driving peoples up in here have very similar outlooks.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:05 PM   #14
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"In 1913 I had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool and watch it turn." - Duchamp, Apropos of Readymades, 1951
Hang in there, that Brooks saddle will break in someday.

But Seriously, who says art has to be dysfunctional?

How about Warhol's BMW M1? That looks like art to me. Change the fluids, drop new plugs and a battery, and that baby will be pretty functional on a race track.

There are many, many example of functional art in architecture (cathedrals old and new), engineering (the Concorde, the Porsche 911, the Brooklyn Bridge), everyday objects like chairs and citrus juice extractors.

Actually, some consider that function needs to be removed to achieve art - that, if function is present, art distills into design, which isn't as pure. I for one don't agree with that reasoning. I believe that function can be achieved without denaturing art from its purest expression. And MOMA in NYC is full of examples to back me up on this.

About the bicycle becoming "just a piece of machinery" when you pull it off the wall and ride it, I disagree. Decontextualization is not a prerequisite. In fact, the first guy that decontextualized something to make an art object out of it (I believe this urinal may be it) created something new. That was art (lots of people disagreed back then). But everyone else who's done it since aren't creating art, they're just duplicating something that's been done.

In short. If your bike ain't art when you're riding it, it won't be art if you encase it into a plexiglass cube. And if your bike ain't ridable, it may or not be art. But if it is, it's surely not because it isn't ridable.

Last edited by jpmartineau; 07-25-08 at 11:09 PM. Reason: adding Warhol M1 link + fixed typos
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Old 07-26-08, 01:49 AM   #15
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i'm an art major. That said all art isn't meant to hang on a wall. There are many forms of art that encourage the viewer to interact with it, this makes the experience of interacting with the artist piece the art.

RichPugh and hockdub I know you have seen your fair share of trailor queens in our VW scene. I can respect someone for putting that kind of work into a car but and it's fair for them to not drive it because it's theirs. I however enjoy driving my cars and bikes like and testing out the new upgrades I put on them. I'd have no idea how well my coilovers or new bike wheels felt if they never got used. lol.
I was generalizing LOL... I see art in so many things. I see it in bikes. I see it in cars, obviously. I see it on canvas. I see it in steel. I see it in stone. I see it in shadows. I see it in sound. I see it in almost every aspect of life. I can also say a car or bike can have a dual purpose for many people... myself included... as "rolling artwork". I DO see my bicycle as a piece of art, created by me, for me, to be admired by me, to be ridden by me and I ONLY expect myself to consider it as art. If others consider it artful or having artistic characteristics, I am tickled pink (man thats an old persons quote... ughh...).

I HATE trailer queens. When you take a car and completely destroy its functionality as an automobile for the sake of displaying the skill of a fabricator or car audio installer or something, it can only be considered ART. It's no longer a functioning piece of machinery LOL. Sure, it has 4 wheels and barely looks like a car, somehow the engine starts up (usually for reasons only as requirements for some level of competition or something) and if you can reach underneath the 12" subwoofer steering wheel, you'll find a pair of vicegrips clamped onto what was once a steering column... sure it might move on its own power. I have a hard time accepting them as functional pieces of machinery... It's a LOT different if it only took "Changing the fluids, changing the plugs and a battery" to make it function. A Warhol M1 is 100% functional and in the eyes of this beholder, BEAUTIFUL artwork.

When you take away the primary function of a bicycle only to have it posed for display somewhere, it becomes solely ART. To be honest, I havent found one of those in these forums yet. They can be ridden as intended as bicycles with no modifications, changes or otherwise to make it functional. No matter what color sperm are on their Deep-V's, who's branded top tube pad is velcro'd on it, what ill-advised carbon wheel is on it, how many frames are welded to eachother to make ride-by-slamdunks possible... nothing. Theyre all still bikes.



Art+Car: The good and the bad but still, fully functioning automobiles.



Art Only which resembles a car: Nobody will ever drive this car on a public street.

WATCH VIDEO: THIS IS NOT A FRIGGIN CAR!

Art+Bike: However you wanna call it, theyre both art and both fully functioning bicycles.




Art Only which resembles a bike:
**Couldnt Find Any**

It's almost like people with bicycles go out of their way to retain the basic and simple functions of a bicycle even if they have horrible taste in everything else haha.
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Old 07-26-08, 02:00 AM   #16
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Well, what I was thinking of were some bikes that seem to be designed to be looked at rather than ridden, and that being their primary function. Perhaps I didn't express it very well, but it hit me while looking through a blog where someone had photographed a whole bunch of very beautiful thought slightly overdone bikes as if they were sculptures. And it got me thinking.

**Originally Posted by RichPugh
A bike goes from a piece of art to a functional piece of machinery when you remove it from your wall and ride it.**

I think that's an extremely good point.
Thank you. That's my only point LOL. I have skateboard decks, on which Mark Gonzales has hand painted graphics and signed, hanging in my home as artwork. Right now, they are displayed as art. When I decide to bolt trucks to it and skate it, it's a functioning piece of machinery. All the while, it is still a skateboard.
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Old 07-26-08, 09:11 AM   #17
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oh yeah I knew you were generalizing. Just figured I'd show my usefulness as an Art Student. LOL
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Old 07-26-08, 10:25 AM   #18
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rcva in sf has an area within their store where they display bikes as art. they have some crank track frames there worth a lot of moneys.
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Old 07-26-08, 03:00 PM   #19
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Dude, you're talking about Trail Of Tears 2K8, right?

http://fixedgeargallery.com/2008/jun...orgallides.htm
http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2008...ixed-gear.html
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Old 07-26-08, 06:17 PM   #20
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I have one of my frames a 71 raleigh Pro Track hanging on my wall as I work on returning it to spec. As soon as it is complete it will get ridden, but for now it is so beautiful that I'd rather use it as art instead of just collecting dust in my shop. It's funny it actually gets more attention than I thought it would from completely non bike minded friends who can stare at it for quite sometime appreciating the craftsmanship and details. I'm all for using it as art for the time being, it's a 2-10 year project anyway
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Old 07-27-08, 01:02 AM   #21
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Slapping those parts together is not art. Get over yourself.
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Old 07-27-08, 01:34 AM   #22
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Old 07-27-08, 02:12 AM   #23
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holy ****, link to info?
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Old 07-27-08, 08:48 AM   #24
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I believe bicycles can be considered art objects whether they are ridden or not. It could be a old relic rusted away and being used in a garden or a recent build of a Pista Concept. I love the way the shapes of circles and triangles come together to form a bicycle. One of my pass times is to scan the net in places like BF, Flickr etc for photos of other peoples bicycles. Every forum here has a photo gallery. I really enjoy being able to modify my own pieces of art and enjoy them on another dimension which could include ridding them and or just enjoying them visually.
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Old 07-27-08, 09:47 AM   #25
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holy ****, link to info?
Search the "Track bikes in Tokyo" thread for "thin walled aluminum".

Sorry, I'm too lazy to do it agan :0
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