SITUATIONISM ON THE WHEELS: SKATEBORED IS NOT SKATEBOARD"
- Written by DAMTP
For decades now Situationism has been subsumed by the historification assembly line, emptied of any subversive potential. It is a corpse, an object of interest of Academy's forensic scientists in search of pret-a-portér radicalisms. However, some of its "practical-theoretical" organs have been transplanted. For example, the alternative use of urban space performed in such an explicit way by psychogeographical dérives stands as a founding element of skateboarding. Every skater lives with this transplanted "organ" and the more succesfull the transplant is the less there is awareness of the operation from the "patient" (on the contrary, the academism side effect risks referred to in this incipit would be enormous!). So let's see what Asger Jorn wanderings through the labyrinthine Amsterdam centre in 1959, with absolutely no aim or destination, taking notes and communicating via walkie-talkie on the perceptions produced by external architecture and his psychological interaction have in common with the slides of a skater? Obviously, the will of using urban space for different purposes from the ones these were originally built: The hive of Amsterdam's centre alleys are primarily a consequence of economic reasons, to let citizens go to work in the most confortable way or to provide them with time-off oriented to commodities; the same is true with the bannister (on which the skateboarding slide takes place) that is made to facilitate transit through steps that lead presumaly to jobs or consumerist places. Both situationist dérives and the skater subvert this unitarian urbanism, proposing and fullfilling alternative usages. Psychogeographical roamings debunk the ideology of contemporary architecture through a theoretical awareness (with practical implications). Skateboarding does the same on a practical level (but with theoretical implications this time) through the virtuosity of tricks. This engagé skateboard is what concerns us in this context. So in order to differentiate it from the conventional one (all chicks, California, billionaire contracts), we're going to refer to engagé skateboarding as "skatebored". Skatebored stands as a technique of metropolitan resistance, the expropriation of an entire city through wheels, the most brave physical realization of situationist dérive aesthetics.