Ghosts on the Streets EU First Shift
These lines depict the daily routes of bicycle messengers working in Europe. As a messenger, we’re on the road all day, all year round, in the rain, sleet, snow and sun. The miles we travel each day give us a fast paced visual view of the city that is unparalleled in its perspective. Flying through traffic, ducking through yellow lights, one minute we’re there, the next minute we’re gone.

Over this past winter, I had traveled to many different cities and rode alongside different bicycle messengers for one whole day. (Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Duisburg, Koln, Berlin, Warszawa, Krakow, Budapest, and Vienna to name a few). During the day, documenting the route that the messenger takes moving through the urban environment to each individual pick-up and drop-off throughout the work day. I may not be able to completely understand the language of each city, but as bike messengers, we are able to understand each other through the language of the streets!

Bike messengers are the only same day delivery service that can get from one point to another in under an hour. There is a kind of embodied knowledge in manuvering the streets and a form of sub-conscience control of your body while riding a bike that is only acquired after an ample amount of time riding the routes of a city, where the body knows before the mind when to take a quick left or right. This specific aspect of time, distance, and bodily knowledge of your own fitness level is what the messenger’s job is all about: Knowing the shortest distance to any point in the city without having to look at a map, and also knowing approximately how long it will take to arrive there.

What is important to me about this project is that this route could never freely be recreated exactly the same, as the pick ups and drop offs are never in the same order or location, making this specific route very original and personal to the messenger, almost like their fingerprint on the city that day.

After this exposition I will make a return trip to each city to revisit each bike messenger I had worked with. Once all the maps are completed for each courier in each city, I will pack up all the maps in my backpack (80+lbs) and complete my final delivery. I will make a return trip to each city I have been to to see each courier I worked with again. I plan to give each courier his or her corresponding map as a thank you for allowing me to travel a day and have the perspective of a bike messenger in their city. In a way, wrapping up the project by being able to literally give something back to the community that has enabled me to complete this project.

Throughout working on this project, many bike messengers, some who I have personally known, have been killed while working on this dangerous job. To dedicate this project to the messengers past and the ones out there in the rain, sleet, snow and wind every day who still receive no proper acknowledgment or respect by the society we deliver for in this harsh service industry. You will always be remembered by your fellow messengers on the streets. Ride in Peace fam.

here is a link to some of the videos from working in each city

Der Lange99, Berlin. October 30, 2013

Yann, Paris. June 06, 2013

Jean Boule, Paris. November 12, 2013

the Hou, Paris. November 13, 2013

Jur, Amsterdam. November 15, 2013

Stahu, Warszawa. November 22, 2013

Doma, Budapest. November 27, 2013

Hollo, Budapest. November 28, 2013

Balscú, Budapest. November 29, 2013

Hefi, Budapest. December 02, 2013

Tomi, Budapest. December 03, 2013

Dani, Budapest. December 05, 2013

Panda, Vienna. December 10, 2013

(Lotta) and Mex, Vienna. December 11, 2013

FixatoRR, Vienna. December 12, 2013

pirateFlo, Vienna. December 13, 2013

Tim, London. December 19, 2013

OverDrive, London. December 20, 2013

Tim, Frankfurt. January 14, 2014

Tobi, Frankfurt. January 17, 2014

Eppi, Frankfurt. January 20, 2014


Städelschule - Rundgang 2014
Frankfurt, DE

Martin at Städelschule

Der Lange99

Tim, Frankfurt

Tobi, Frankfurt

Jean Boule, Paris

Houseen, Paris

Jur, Amsterdam

Dani, Budapest

Hollo, Budapest

Hefe, Budapest

Tomi, Budapest

Doma, Budapest

Balscú, Budapest

FixatoRR and Panda, Vienna

pirateFLO, Vienna