Ghosts on the Street - Europe
Invisible Infrastructures:
Ghosts on the Street

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. During the day, I GPS'd and documented the route that the messenger takes moving through the urban environment to each individual pick-up and drop-off throughout the entire 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!

The Bicycle Messenger is the only same day delivery service that can get from one point to another in under an hour in most major cities around the world. 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 as a messenger, 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.

This route could never again 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. In the end, this job takes a hardworking dedicated type of person to complete it day in and day out.

On the night before the final day of the exposition, I packed up all the work into my messenger bag along with the rest of my belongings (80+lbs) and headed out. The wall of the exposition was left bare for the last day to symbolize not only the name of this project, but the job of the messenger is always on the move, one second were there, one second were gone. I wanted to take the work and personally bring it to its final delivery address. I went to revisit each city and see each courier I had originally worked with. On arrival in the cities, I sought out the couriers and presented each of them with their corresponding map as a personal thank you for allowing me to have the perspective of a bike messenger in their city for a day. Thus wrapping up the project by being able to literally give something back to the community that has enabled me to complete this project

The amount of effort that it took to revisit each one of these cities and to physically be able to give something back to these amazing people as a thank you from another country is what is so important to me about this project and the job of the Bike Messenger. The messenger is an integral part to the expansion and development of early major cities, as well as being the human element that brings the far reaches of the city back together. Our job exists to connect people to other people.

"Messengers eliminate the distance between people that space creates. So we kinda shrink the world. You're handing it to me I'm handing it to them; that space in between just disappears."
-Greg Ugalde, Bike Messenger in NYC


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
Vimeo


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



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Städelschule - Rundgang 2014
Frankfurt, DE


Martin at Städelschule


Der Lange99


Martin, Frankfurt. Feb 6, 2014


Fuego, Paris. Feb 20, 2014


Raph, Brussels. Feb 22, 2014


Dennis, Köln. March 28, 2014


(Micha) and Marcellus, Duisburg. March 27, 2014


Mischa, Köln. Feb 25, 2014


Basti, Berlin. March 3, 2014


Zorro, Berlin. March 7, 2014


Mateusz, Krakow. March 10, 2014


Paweł, Krakow. March 11, 2014


Yoschi, Vienna. March 20, 2014


Boris, Hamburg. April 1, 2014


Viktor, Hamburg. April 2, 2014


Daniel, Hamburg. April 3, 2014


Flo, Frankfurt. April 7, 2014