29 April 2010

The Green Machine, by Iain Boal - All 5 Episodes

I blogged episode one a few days ago, and here's the complete set of episodes for your internet convenience. I recommend watching them all. Fascinating stuff.

All together they are about 1 hour in length, divided into five segments.












I had the pleasure of attending - and filming - a brilliant lecture by one of the planet's foremost bicycle historians, Iain Boal. Everytime I am in his company I learn outrageous amounts about the history of the bicycle. He was invited by Copenhagen Museum in conjunction with their current exhibition Copenhagen by Bicycle. His lecture was based on a lifetime of research and thought but also in his new book, out this fall (2010) called The Green Machine - A Brief, illustrated history of the bicycle in a planetary perspective.

As Iain says at the beginning of episode one:
"The real history of the bicycle is more interesting than the mythification. Frankly, things are too serious. We have to have a grown-up history of cycling and of the bicycle. I'm going to upset some purists, but that's okay. I've upset myself."

THE GREEN MACHINE : A BRIEF, ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE BICYCLE IN PLANETARY PERSPECTIVE
Iain Boal will present a new illustrated history of cycling, one designed for the 21st century and its interwoven crises. Drawing upon the artifacts of cycling history currently on display in the City Museum of Copenhagen, Professor Boal will trace the heterogeneous origins of the bicycle, busting some Eurocentric myths along the way. It is a fresh story that celebrates the bicycle's freewheeling sociability and the part that human-powered mobility must play in the human settlements of the future, but refuses to be blind any longer to the bicycle's entanglement with capitalist modernity's brutal labor process or its complicity with the automobilism that has paved the planet, rendered cities unconvivial, and now threatens the biosphere itself.

Iain Boal is an Irish social historian, resident in California since 1985. He is associated with Retort, a group of writers, artisans and artists based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is affiliated with the Geography Department and the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley, and the Community Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz. In 2005/6 he was a Guggenheim Fellow in Science and Technology. He co-edited Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information, City Lights Press,1995, and was one of the authors of Retort's Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (Verso, 2006). The Green Machine will be published by Notting Hill Editions, London, in the fall of 2010.

4 comments:

Roger said...

Engagingly donnish delivery and some well-observed points, especially about road surfaces. But his relentless militancy is rather like being buttonholed by a Jehovah's Witness.

Brent said...

I found instructive his comment that cycling "efficiency" depends on paved roads.

Stuart said...

Paving (creation and maintenance) for bicycles surely costs a fraction (money, resources, energy, CO2, etc.) of paving for automobiles. That doesn't mean we shouldn't work on "sustainable paving methods" or whatever, of course.
So, anyway... Quick! Somebody figure out what the efficiency of cycling would be if everyone did it, taking into account the minimum cost of paving to support that.

Adrienne Johnson said...

It is always fun to hear about Macadam. He was my Grandfather's Great Uncle : )