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-by Kathryn Ford

(Photo credit: Adam Thomas)

Lake Burley Griffin
Friday March 21 2014

You Are Here‘s Neon Night Rider was a fantastical study of the glowing bicycle species and the radiant owners that ride them. A hectic collection of pulsing bikes glided alongside Lake Burley Griffin on Friday evening as part of a community bike ride around the lake. Along the way riders paused at four pit stops to take in a kooky art installation or performance.

The bike riders became something of an art installation themselves as they rode past baffled dog walkers and hooting drivers. Different breeds of bikes mingled, including several quirky custom built bikes that were extra tall or extra long. One particular modified monster consisted of two bikes joined together by a platform decked out with its own keg, esky and sound system.

As the party surged forward and the wheels spun, glow sticks threaded through spokes turned into dazzling blurs. Christmas lights crept across bike frames and handle bars, glowing insistently in the dark. A stunning reflection of lights and colours was caught by the lake along the water’s edge.

The first and best pit stop featured Jake Silvestro from the emerging circus performer’s group, Poncho Circus, spinning with his cyr wheel. Silvestro kept to the theme by swathing his torso in fairy lights. He effortlessly stayed standing inside of the giant, metal circle as both wheel and artist rolled and spun across the cement stage. The act was an eye popping, dizzying display of daring and balance. Riders rang their bells in appreciation with a musical round of applause.

Next stop was Aspen Island and a brave, absurdist performance by Ma Ya Ga Ng Re Ne.

Throughout the piece, a man in pink gumboots, a pink dress and pink head gear stomped around the island shouting about honey and dairy. He intermittently poured cartons of strawberry milk down his gumboots, down his chest and down his throat. While all riders probably could have happily lived without ever seeing this incoherent, endless performance, it successfully aligned itself with absurdist theatre that rejoices in meaningless, repetitive action and dialogue.

At pit stop three, riders were greeted by Patrick Stein’s geometric artwork, presented by his excitable friend Lester, who was waiting to help the group get creative. Using green glowing triangular blocks sculptures were built that battled against wind and gravity.

After a speedy journey to the finish line, riders hopped off their trusty steeds and headed into the darkness with No Lights No Lycra, a dance community committed to dancing in the dark. Here it was discovered that the one and only way to end a joyous glowing night time ride was to rock out to the Backstreet Boys under the trees on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.


20140310_145525Kathryn Ford is one of those twenty-somethings that can be found wandering around government buildings and cafes in Canberra.  She adores art and a powerful film, book or show can light her up for days or turn her into an angsty mess ruminating over every melancholic moment.

She is stoked to check out some YAH events and see how this city moves during an arts festival. She is confident that YAH will leave us all equipped with the ability to defend ourselves from parasitic ear-entering Yeerks and gifted with mad dance skillz that can only be learned from dancing in the dark.

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