On June 17, 2008 I killed the Bike With 2 Brains.
I've been dragging it to exhibitions and to Burning Man for the last 4 years. It never felt the same as that first year. The reason slowly materialized: I didn't set it free. The first time I brought it to Burning Man, I let it have an adventure on its own by letting people take it wherever they wanted. But on all subsequent exhibitions, I kept it close by. It was a difficult, harrowing experience to try and find it after that first year and I didn't want to repeat it. It would have been possible to add a tracking device, but in a way, I don't think even that would have been satisfying.
So it's been dying a slow, painful death. I killed its soul when I brought it out for the second time and didn't let it run free. It's looked sadder and sadder ever since — going from an experience to a toy. Of course, that's all it really was in the first place: an elaborate toy, but in that initial presentation, I made it art. As egotistical as it seems, I fully believe that to be true. It was a unique, experiential art project that I made.
I couldn't just throw it away — nor could I sell it. I couldn't even give it away — for to whom?: only to someone who would let it live again. I didn't really know what to do with it. I kept meeting people who wanted to see it and I'd occasionally trot it out to show them. The only real exception was my friend Sondra who advised to turn it into something else. Unlike other projects or products, I had a hard time seeing the Bike With 2 Brains as anything but the Bike With 2 Brains. It really permeated my perspective.
I finally decided to step up to the plate. I got out the Sawzall and took one last picture. I said, "goodbye, old friend" and started cutting.
Pieces of its corpse still haunt my garage and basement, but it's all on its way to becoming something else. The seat will be a "portable" loveseat — kind of like a heavy patio furniture that I can bring to Burning Man. One of the front wheels and the back wheel are going to become a rear-steered tricycle — sort of an adult Big Wheels.
As my friend Toni says, "everything is on its way to being something else".
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