Photo Exhibition – Do it yourself – Do it for yourself!

At Winterclash 2019 we took the chance of using Area 51’s beautiful exhibition space, right next to the skatepark’s entrance. The photos we chose are covering DIY-projects from (almost) all over the globe.
In case you couldn’t be there or you failed to take a moment on spot, we have collected the pictures and words here, in order of appearance.

This set of pictures is a collection of efforts made within the rollerblading community. Resonating with the idea of ‘Do it yourself’, it shows projects that are built based on the initiative of an individual, or a group of individuals – a crew. The featured projects vary in form and content. They range from organizing events to creating lasting objects, be it a skatepark or a book, documenting and reflecting our culture. Within these categories the exhibition shows the nuances in form. A book can be a physical object or a digital product. A blading event can fit the classic definition of a sports competition or consist in the gathering of 150+ people for a road trip. What connects all of the projects is the will of an individual or a crew to contribute to the culture of Rollerblading. Even if the original idea may spring from self-interest – ‘I want a miniramp in my backyard!’ – the outcomes are for everyone to feed on. The pictures on exhibition offer a glimpse into a community that takes matters in their own hands. It features individuals that do something for the sake of doing it.

In the words of Luke Bender: “Nobody else will do it for me, so I do it.”

#1 Trashpark
Photo: Felix Strosetzki

TRASHPARK”, a skatepark build by me and all my blade family in Copenhagen, made of what ever we could find around the neighborhood and get for free, jusing a minimal amount of money, trying to make some sort af park the could benefit the Whole comunity! “ TRASHPARK” RIP 2009 – 2011

-Christian Berg

#2 Blade Diary
Photo: Pietro Firrincieli

The BLADE DIARY is a family album. It records the individuals and the crews of a generation of bladers who, through their actions, video parts, competitions and clothes made blading what is today. The materials I chose for the books and the exhibition are xerox prints, blueback posters paper and painting because these are the ones belonging to street cultures since the beginning and, in my perspective, they help to recall the atmosphere we live in. The need I feel of recalling the atmosphere is, in my opinion, the bridge between inside and outside the culture. It’s not possible for everyone to understand the technical aspects of a video part, the nuances behind a movement and so on, only bladers know. But our lifestyle and the atmosphere we live in, even though is exotic for non blading people, can touch them and connect us to what we have in common: life. The pictures in the BLADE DIARY got published both in blading magazines, news, weekly, architecture and sport magazines and got exhibited in real galleries reaching thousands of people outside our culture. That’s why I strongly believe in the connecting power of recalling an atmosphere, of telling a story in different layers. The sense of DIY to me is exactly that. People who motivated themselves to make something that they feel is missed or that they would love to see happen in a different way. Even though you “do it yourself”, we don’t do it for ourself. We need to be aware that everything we drop, every action we do, goes straight to contribute to the whole culture and community, the way we see ourselves and the image other people will perceive. It’s a responsibility every individual can decide to take, to choose which direction his influence can help our culture to go.

-Pietro Firrincieli

#3 D.R.S. Contest
Photo: Pablo Urbano

The DRS Contest is an annual street competition happening in Quito, Ecuador. It unites bladers from the whole country as well as other south-american countries. Everybody can participate at no charge.
The event is financed by David Ruiz, an ex blader with the organizational help of ‘Artextremo’, an Ecuadorian extreme sports community. Starting from 2012 it took place every year, in a variety of spots spread over Quito, at an altitude of 2850m. The spots have been modified many times, creating new obstacles and new possibilities for the bladers.
The sole purpose of the event has always been to promote the development of rollerblading in Ecuador. A sport that doesn’t experience any support in Ecuador.
The 8th Edition of the DRS Contest will happen on the 10th of August 2019.

-David Ruiz

#4 Colorado Roadtrip
Photo: Luke Bender

Colorado Road Trip (CORT), presented by Luke Bender et al., takes place annually during the first weekend of August – for 20 years running. It involves a 5 day camping trip for approximately 150 rollerbladers and friends, and tours roughly 10 skateparks throughout the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado in the Western United States.

The question of What is DIY? is really difficult for me to reconcile with this project. Strictly speaking, we aren’t “making” anything in any permanent sense, but we do create a pretty extraordinary campsite 5 different times on a trip hosting approximately 150 people that travels several hundreds of miles. In a way, what we’re creating is an event. A kind of DIY event. Nobody else will do it for me, so I do it.
But doing it myself doesn’t change the fact that it takes a lot of gear, and a lot of cooperation. Camping with a giant tarp complex, generators, espresso machines, gas grills, and all sorts of amenities somewhat flies in the face of a “find shit around your house and go do something” kind of attitude. To acquire everything all at once would be rather expensive—and would be, perhaps, prohibitive for any one person—but the Colorado Road Trip is a kind of 20-year-long event. It gets better every year, and every year we acquire more gear (tarps, chairs, straps, generators, lights, camping equipment, etc.) to make it feasible.
It’s a different kind of project than a regular DIY project, but, in some aspects, it’s not. It’s about taking what you can get and doing something amazing. Anybody could do it. None of the individual parts are particularly hard to do—you just have to have the will to do it. To me, learning is what DIY is really about—having the will to learn.

We’ve had twenty years to learn.
During that time, my friends and I have gathered a tremendous amount of gear—some homemade, some professional. It’s what’s required to host Mario Cart Battles in a makeshift tarp city on top of a mountain in driving rain amidst heavy winds to keep ourselves entertained when we’re not rollerblading. It’s what’s required to invite hundreds of people to go on a skate/camping trip. You can’t invite 150 people to come pay to sleep on the ground, so I have to find free sites suitable for more than 50 vehicles in National Forest where camping is safe, accessible, and free. None of us work for the forest service, and none of us are professional mountaineers, but with the right attitude, we can make anything work.

Anyone can do what we do, we’re just the ones who actually do it.

-FWHAT

#5 A-Town Stomp
Photo: Corey Oringderff

It all started in my parents’ back yard.

We each got to choose one dream obstacle to build.. Mine was a 20 foot coping box with a quarter. Brian’s was the infamous “<idowmaker,” a 40 foot kink rail with a ply-board run up and an 8 foot drop on either side. (If you’ve skated it before, I’m sure the word Widowmaker is stirring up distinct memories.)
Once the backyard skatepark was done, we knew what we had to do: Invite all our friends to come skate what we had built. Super basic, super homie.
We grilled burgers, charged $5 to compete and skated all day. The winner got about 95 USD.

A few years later we wanted to take the competition to the street. The concept was simple:
Pick 2 street spots.. Build a DIY obstacle for the finals.. Throw a kick ass party.
We found junk cars, bought old boats and turned basic parking lots and slabs of concrete into temporary arenas for skating. And of course, we partied.
We believe that people come, in large, to shoot the shit, see their friends and to hang out. They like skating for sure, but the reason that they travel to our event is to socialize. For this reason, we focus equal attention to the skating and the social aspect of the event.

This year marks the 10th run of the A-Town Stomp, and will be the 15th DIY competition that we’ve hosted. We’ve come a long way since the backyard skate comp, and grown through our experiences hosting events, but at the end of the day, all we want to do is bring our community together once a year to have a kick ass time rollerblading.

Thanks for reading,

-The Starnes Brothers

#6 Athens Bladehouse
Photo: Dominik Wagner

The Blade House is simply a residential home in a quiet Athens suburb, with stuff to skate within its premises. Throughout the years it has served its purpose as a hub for the Syeahskate crew and the rest of the Greek scene. More importantly, it has helped to solidify our bonds with the global blading community, especially amongst European countries.

Our annual event is a big summer party celebrating rollerblading, meeting old and new friends, dancing to great live music and witnessing the amazing skills of bladers from all around the globe. With the collective help and experience of over 30 Syeahskate members we have designed & built all the ramps, rails and boxes in the house and have organized, hands down, one of the best parties you will ever go to!

-Nick Kouros

#7 Schmidty’s Ramp & Camp
Photo: Kazu Mori

My name is Tim Schmidt and I am the founder of ‘Ramp & Camp’. In short, I tore down a couple skateparks and now I’m going crazy building in my field. My main feature is a 12m wide, 1.8m tall spine ramp which I had professional help building. Now I am attempting to double its size and bowl it in with me being head of the project. On the other side of the spine I have a mini-street section consisting of two rails and two concrete ledges.
Ever since I left my job at Skatepile in 2005, I have been searching for a way to contribute to the community. With a market saturated with similar ideas, it took me a while to find my niche: An outdoor skate ramp in a field. The perfect place to throw huge parties or have a quiet weekend skate. It all happened so fast, it is hard to believe. I tore down the first park in July 2015. A few months later I talked Aaron Durand into coming to help me to get this project going. In about 30 days the spine ramp was ready to shred. So far I have been having contests in both May and October and I usually try to build something new for each event.
While I built the place for my own personal sanity, I want it to be a spot where any bladehead can come to and spend time. It is an open invitation to all rollerbladers. Come shred with me anytime!  Hit me up on Instagram @schmidtys_ramp_and_camp or on Facebook.

-Tim Schmidt

#8 Detroit Blade Scene
Photo: Michelle Gerard

Be careful- this photo is deceptive, and accurate, all at once. It’s powerful, in a quiet and sneaky way, as is much of Michelle’s work. It doesn’t lie, but it distracts. Look too long, and the beauty and story lures you in. Keep your distance, take only a glance in its direction, and then move away quickly.
I’m sure there are safer photos to contemplate in this exhibition. Work that’s more honest. That shows all sides of this DIY spot-building thing and lets you make a fair assessment, for yourself, of whether you’d like to try it. They’ll lay it all out for you, step back, and let you make what you will of it. Not Michelle’s shot. They’ll show you the hard parts of the process- coughing out the dust in your lungs, the sweat and Portland dust mixing and then drying on your skin. The endless lugging and lifting- of your tools, of concrete mix, of water buckets, of bricks and lumber and rubble and refuse. Loading up your car and then unloading it and then loading it up again. Troweling until your shoulders scream. The mixing, the infinite goddamned mixing.

Certainly there’s at least one photo nearby showing the heartbreak, the frustration, the anger. It’s probably of a spot after being bulldozed by the authorities. A pile of rubble perhaps, all alternating rough broken edges and curved bits of your once-transitions. I hope there’s a shot that somehow shows the rest of the dark side- the death by a thousand cuts of knowing that every time you walk into your spot you might discover more trash, or broken glass, or broken ramps, or awful graffitti, or worst of all- awful people, eager to hop on now that the work’s done. All things you’re going to deal with because you decided to sieze a useless place and force-love it into something beautiful.

This photo, on the other hand, just shows you two friends, happily rushing to finish their first DIY spot before the sun went down. We have but to sweep off the rub-brick dust, slap on some wax, and we’ll finally be able to ride the transitions we and our friends had spent weeks adding to the far side of these barriers. Alex has no time for a mask, not when the payoff is so near. Hope, joy, pride, and a deep satisfaction in our work- if you were to believe Michelle’s photo, that’s all that we felt that day. And we did. But soon we felt more, or at least I did, the strongest- some of the others to a lesser degree. The spot needed more, we needed more. There were… possibilities, that needed exploring.

What do you wanna build this weekend? I was thinking…

-Al Dolega

#9 Home Contest
Photo: Mathieu Hennebert

« Oh Putain ! » might be the first thing to come to my mind when realizing that the Home Contest era was soon to be a decade old.
One needs to know a bit about this place called ‘116’ to get all the magic of the blading session that happened down there.

The day I moved in, my friend Antoine Erimian had a broken knee and was living in his armchair, getting wasted on weed, medicine, and white wine, in the middle of the living room which was trashed from the goodbye party of the last occupants two weeks before.
It took us more parties to bring him back to life, the house was a meeting point for before and after the street session, and also for many non-bladers looking for friends to drink with. We were living mostly on robbery and getting fucked up pretty very often. It was totally normal that we would sometimes skate the sofas, or destroy the VCR collection in a fight against the coffee cup collection.
Anyway, one morning Antoine was busy with wood in the kitchen and he just told us: «Fuck, if I can’t go blading, then blading will have to come to me.». He just built a quarter and we finally made it a line, out through the window.

There’s a thousand funny stories about the different Home Contests, with the neighbors, the cops, the owner or the unexpected public, but as I gotta make it short, just know that my mum came once to the 116, we didn’t have front door anymore, no more toilets, and a big table/rail was restricting the access to the kitchen sink. She didn’t come back to Bruxelles for 10 years. Beside the noise and dust, one of the hardest point about having a skatepark in such a small apartment might be that you need to be creative to use your skatepark as an apartment.

This pic of Mossel TTS is a good memory of a chill evening we had skating this stolen piece of fence, and in case you would wonder, he actually landed reverse, facing the sofa on the wall. I have my own printed edition, dedicated, which is now in the frame that you can see on the wall.
Magic Motherfuckers Rules!

-Remy Meister

#10 My Summer Days in Europe
Photos & Collage: Victoria Acevedo

Have you ever felt that you are in the wrong place, where there is no place for you?
And then when you finally get to a place where you know you belong, because you know what you’re doing, you’re learning, you’re getting to know yourself and the people around you, it’s because you are working hard, you are having fun, you are loving yourself, because you are doing something that feels good. Do not let anyone leave you voiceless, do not let anyone jump a gap over you, do not let anything stop you and keep rolling with the times, my summer days in Europe is a project made for the future. Do not let anyone tell you how to see the world you live in. Because when you disappear, the only things that will make a change possible, will be things done with honesty.

‘My summer days in Europe’ is a DIY project designed to be viewed on a computer.
Initially it was a handmade book that evolved during a trip in 2013. I started documenting and photographing the rollerbladers who made a positive or negative change in myself, representing each personal moment in something that will be productive to generate a change in the future. Collecting objects, images and untold stories, I created my personal lenguaje. One that I could not speak. A lenguaje that could be understood only when you interact with the book, not only through music or animations, also through secret places, places that were locked up. The access was restricted, a key is necessary. If you have it, you can interact with this adventure that was hidden for seven years. The original book was reproduced in the form of an interactive book.
Maybe you are in the book? Come and interact, do something.

with love
-Victoria Acevedo.