by daniel kusner + truitt ray
Frustration arises when one goes against the direction of the intended current. However, pistoning along on a bike nearly always feels like you’re on the right path.
“512 Cycology” isn’t inspired by the bravery of being road warriors.
It’s about being road worriers.
Worried that Austin’s narrow old streets and easygoing charm will vanish. And that both will be replaced by a technopolis ensnarled with drama queens who are unable to comprehend that honking a car horn is as shocking as spitting at someone.
Daniel Kusner and Truitt Ray aim to capture the people and places that surround Austin’s freewheeling “transportainment” energy.
As an exercise about traveling in unexpected paths and pivoting in new directions, “512 Cycology” acknowledges Austin’s “bike today, breathe tomorrow” ethos. It also highlights reasons to ride through the Texas capital in all its “more ass, less gas” glory.
Look at what the cabs dragged in
Originally, “512 Cycology” was solely focused on Austin’s booming pedicab industry. That “rickshaw revolution” concept, however, proved to be too narrow — too elaborate.
During research, I seized upon French theater designer Claude Gillot’s best-known painting, “Les deux Carrosses” (“The Two Coaches,” 1707), which hangs in The Louvre.
Gillot was inspired by “Foire Saint Germain” (1695), a comedy about an altercation that erupts between two cabmen and their passengers (commedia dell’arte characters Arlequin and Scaramouche, both dressed in women’s clothing).
The sketch is about frustration over traffic congestion.
When the carriages meet in a narrow alley, each taxi refuses to back up and let the other pass. The show concludes when a passing black-robed judge attempts to mediate the conflict but instead becomes the focus of the collective ire and is chased offstage.
For the Austin 2015 version, we relocate this traffic jam to an alley off of 11th Street between San Jacinto Boulevard and Brazos Street — across from The Texas General Land Office.
A 12-person crew turned out. Two members — Bryan Amann and Charles Yusko — drove in from Dallas. Exaggerating road rage turned into an afternoon of sidesplitting adventure.
— Daniel Kusner