Bicycling on Mars – Thoughts on the Future of Transportation
Keynote by Rob La Frenais, http://roblafrenais.info
Future of Transportation is a project that concerns bottom-up, playful approaches, by artists, designers and inventors to the issues of getting around the planet, or the immediate locality. It has operated as an Interim project at Srishti, Bangalore, for 2 years and is active as a Facebook group with nearly a thousand members, with posts on everything from self-driving cars to cycle activism, from hyperloop systems to coracles. This paper addresses the resurgent and the impossible. It is of course impossible for individuals to directly address the planet-wide problems of unsustainable growth, traffic congestion, and massive gaps between logical city planning and the reality of over-production of private vehicles and the dominance of the airline. We instead look at subversive, playful solutions, such as the French group HeHe’s site-specific artists’ rail vehicles, Bangalore artist Suresh Samuha’s faux transportation department, and Mexican artist Tania Candiani’s impossible flying vehicles. We concentrate on what seems impossible – dealing with the power of myth, narrative and the folklore of technology – rather than mega-solutions. We conclude with a case study of inventor Naveen Rabelli’s project to drive a solar-powered auto-rickshaw overland from Bangalore to London and focus on the power of hope and belief.
Dr Rob La Frenais is an independent contemporary art curator, working internationally and creatively with artists entirely on original commissions. He believes in being directly engaged with the artist’s working process as far as possible, while actively widening the context within which the artist can work.