The Ride Out 15 April 2010
Woke up to perfect weather, that rare moment in Glasgow where it is just what you wanted, odd patches of cloud and sun and a gentle breeze. Spring has well and truly sprung. Down to Kelvingrove Park and all the white bikes are arrayed in a perfect circle round the fountain. It’s a stunning opening image, without anyone there. As we approach the set off point there are more and more cyclists turning up, with all sorts of ingenious systems to film the ride out. One woman has ten cameras strapped to the front of her bike, people have head cams and mobile phones. There will be a huge amount of footage…I’m fascinated to see how it will all cut together.
The ride out starts up Sauchiehall St and the pace is perfect, leisurely and slow and 200 odd bikes fill most of the road, so you can do that thing you never normally do in the city, have a conversation. It is incredibly relaxed. The only sound is the ringing of different bells on each bike, a tinkling backdrop. We arrive at George Square too quickly. I really wanted the pleasure of riding on mass through the city to last forever, it was tantalisingly short.
In the square, there is an old abandoned Peugot bike hanging ready to be painted white, I go for it with a vengeance and the original Provo anarchist white bikes manifesto is read out in dutch by Alexandros (brilliant gutteral voice) and the english translation by Peter McCaughey in his best Omagh accent. There is a great atmosphere and at one point as we present the white bike plan, people lift their bikes above their heads. It felt like a genuine homage to the original and I look forward to some of the original Dutch anarchists seeing footage and pictures and how they will feel to see their visionary ideas take flight again nearly half a century on.
It’s been a strong start to Glasgow International Festival and particularily the prominence given to non-gallery based contemporary practice that works with event, performative action, site-response, evocation and re-enactment. Its also been two years since we made a live work and this was a great way to start again.