Thursday, September 07, 2006

relaxing in strange places

Saw this gentleman lying on his bike and reading in Shanghai this last weekend. As it's a gallery/art space area I was a little undecided whether this was studied loucheness or just genuine way to relax, after all, sleeping on your bike is not unusual:

This sort of alternative use for a bike is often through force of circumstance; long hours, chance to rest away from crowded home, passing time while waiting for instructions etc (though here it's more a case of how do you nap and look after your delivery?). But it means that objects have to take on multiple functions for some people. Here a bike becomes a microcosm offering a way to earn, transport, relaxation and right now, safe storage. Russell Davies was talking about how his car was almost real estate as it offered his family extra storage and how utility vehicles such as the Scion are popular as they offer extra living capacity, well, its would seem its already being pioneered here China. Perhaps we are too quick to see 'financially constrained' lifestyles and behaviour as a diametrically opposed to the affluent one? We may have more in common with all sorts of people who are trying to reconcile small crowded homes, long working hours, fewer personal spaces etc than we may have thought. If so, then we have something to learn from people who are used to coping with less by making what they have, do more.

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