Mobility Studies: Affordance

In tonight’s session of “mobilities: cities on the move” Professor Sheller introduced this video of a young scotsman, Danny MacAskill, filmed imaginatively navigating his environment and shaping it to suit his purpose. He clearly tests our understanding of an environment’s affordance while demonstrating that how we move through space alters our perception of a space and the creation of place. Early in the video Danny manipulates his bicycle along the tops of iron fence-posts, what would be a barrier for most of us, and as he jumps, flips and drops across the city he challenges us all to better explore our environment and to not simply accept the tried and true methods for moving within our environment. Throughout the video Danny demonstrates such refined control over the bicycle that it becomes an extension of his body. More than an instrument in the hand of a practiced athlete the man and bicycle become one entity moving through space, adapting to its environment  in ways that are reminiscent of parkour. The performance is beautiful to watch and truly challenges our understanding of mobility.

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  1. Unlikely, I’m pretty sure that man-car-computer cyborgs already do rule the planet. The man-bike types would be hard pressed to steal it back, though the story might make a neat short cartoon.

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