Default is a journey of discovery for artists, designers, technologists and collectors working whilst traveling by bike through Europe along a straight line. In 2015 Default passes through Ireland, from North to South.
A fold in a map
Default are wandering strangers and itinerant artists/collectors who embarked on a bicycle expedition following the core concept of industrial travel, the straight line. The folds of a European train map are our guides. These arbitrary lines are a limitation, an absolute rule, but also a score that would help the artists explore their given territory – a 25 km-wide strip along the fold – without hesitation, second thoughts, or prejudice.
The journey is a quest of co-creation in a group of intentional travellers inspired by Hakim Bey’s “Overcoming Tourism” : “The purpose of intentional travel, with its 'adventures' and its uprooting of habits, is to shake loose the dervish from all the trance effects of ordinariness. Travel, in other words, is meant to induce a certain state of consciousness or 'spiritual state' – that of Expansion.”
Following the invisible vector of a fold in the map is an invitation for a joint in-situ improvisation with a multitude of personalities, rather than the line being the most straight and efficient way to reach the end node. People are invited to suggest ways to connect to the landscape and the journey, to investigate and explore the ways artists and adventurers can form a portable, nomadic creative studio powered by sun, wind and muscles.
In the aftermath of the last major ice age, early Europeans traveled north following the receding permafrost through an unknown landscape. In Default, a group cyclists moves south, during what many see as the prelude to another major climatic shift. Every fold is an experiment in the sustainable mobility of cultural practices, framed by the environmental, social and economic challenges our future societies may be facing – such as the unpredictability of fuel prices or the wastefulness of overconsumption, tourism included.
While on the road we explore how artists come together in fragile research processes, and how they can break out of static, heavy-handed approaches to production. How flexible is the artistic process of co-creation when it is disconnected from the power grid? What existing and emerging technologies could meet these challenges? And what communication channels are most suited for maintaining contact with the wider world when artists move off the grid in small, nomadic communities for long periods?
Moving straight down various lines in Europe as a nomadic artistic platform entails many challenges: navigating, finding food and shelter, repairing bikes and keeping track of each other for almost a month.
The experience can result in numerous works, from sculptures made and installed on the road to maps, video performances and blogs. This constrained journey proves to be a valuable format in which people can explore and enrich their creative practices in alternate ways. For many participants this experience instigates new approaches and nomadic working methods.
“And now, something remains possible – aimless wandering, the sacred drift. … We can allow ourselves to participate, to experience the world as a living relation and not as a themepark.” – Hakim Bey.