The organizers and artists of the 01 Biennial turned their flair for inventive and slightly mad design to transportation Saturday with the Green Prix parade and festival. The exhibits were primarily focused on modes of eco-transport, which included electric cars, bicycles and segways. Mostly, though, there were bikes— lots of bikes. In particular, Cyclecide contained a whole bus full of weirdly shaped, artsy bikes, some with largely disproportionate handle bars, others a few sizes too small. People were welcome to take them for a spin, which many (both kids and adults) did. For most, there was a steep learning curve on the steering, which only seemed to make it more fun. The eco-art theme also crossed over into creating alternative forms of energy. A personal favorite was Slow Dogs, a four-stationary-bike set up that was attached to a hot dog cooker. Participants could earn a free hot dog by donating 5-10 minutes of their energy to help power the hot dog cookers on one of the stationary bikes, something I jumped at the opportunity to do. The delicious corn fed hot dogs were totally worth it.
The concept bled into entirely weird areas, like video games. Leave it to artists to think of turning a Sega arcade racing game into a moving vehicle. The only big drawback was that once you started moving, you couldn’t really see where you were going.
Of all the art exhibits I witnessed, the one I enjoyed the most was called Are We There Yet, an interactive camper that you could walk inside and look around, touching the contents inside the cabinets. It looked like the kind of trailer your grandparents might have taken on a family camping trip. Inside the cabinets there must have been hundreds of different postcards stashed away, all waiting to be found and read. Each card contained a unique travel story. Some were written by the artist, others were found in thrift stores, and others still were written by people who attended the Zero One Festival earlier that day. It was interesting to read how people chose to distill their travel experiences down in a few short paragraphs—so often it seemed the little things mattered the most. Getting to spend time with a favorite relative. Watching the landscape pass by through the window of the moving vehicle.
Over at the South Hall, the exhibits didn’t grab me in the way I expected. The one exception was Empire Drive In, the combination drive-in recreation and functional film and video theater made of junk cars laid out in front of a giant screen. It delivered a creepy post-apocalyptic feeling as I sat in a broken-down wheel-less car and looked over at the empty snack shack, so perfectly crafted it seemed to be an actual relic, abandoned for sinister reasons unknown.