Resident Raphael Franco is mid way through his socio-cycling-landscape project “cyclingscaping” below he tells us more about his work in progress:
“Through the interaction between artists, bike lovers and citizens of all ages, Cyclingscaping aims to challenge notions of visual identity and forms of experiencing, representing and relating to the landscape. By reinforcing the value of cycling as a sociable, healthy and enjoyable activity, the Cyclingscaping projects promotes informal encounters in which people can share experiences, talk about the city, its surroundings, history, places of interest and disinterest, in a way that cycling becomes not just a leisure or sporty activity, but an artistic, collective action, in which a collective knowledge is built through the discussion about the present, past and future of the city. Such a process will result in a informal cycling map of Biella and its surroundings.
After the first month of residency, when I started to make contacts and explore the centre of Biella, the project has developed positively, establishing partnerships, gathering friends as well as a number of Biellese citizens who are contributing to the development of the map. The first tours outside the city centre took place on the past few weeks and brought citizens from Biella and artists from UNIDEE 2011. There will be a bigger tour on September to launch the map within the city.
For me, the contact with local people is fundamental for the success of the project, so I’m quite happy with the rides led by Biellese individuals as well as with the dialogue about buildings and spaces with people here. As I’m asking them to talk a little bit about places they like/dislike and why, I’ve been having the opportunity to learn about a different history of the city; a history that unfolds through people’s life stories, which gives an experimental input to the work, rather than a pure analytic observation. An interesting aspect of working with this approach is to eventually confront opinions about the same place/building, taking as examples buildings such as the new residential buildings of Via Lamarmora, or the “Esselunga (the biggest supermarket in town) buildings”, which represent the “verticalization” of the city and the controversial clash between its new and the old architecture.” Raphael Franco