Sometime at night, at the Croatian border. A double-decker bus packed with young people who haven't had a shower for a long time and simply can't stack the right number of passports in several attempts - 25 passports from seven nations - and hand them over to the visibly irritated border guard. Between all the tired, mischievous faces, socks, underpants, guitars, skateboards, coffee cups and tetrapacks full of wine: a concrete mixer. "What the hell are you doing here?!" - "...Hmm...We're on vacation visiting friends!"
In 2015 we set out on a tour that skateboarding and the rest of the world hasn't seen before. In a four-week tour we are through Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and Denmark. Tours under and for professional skateboarders are not really unusual, they usually run like this: a small group of skaters go to a place and leave it after a certain time - hopefully with bags full of glossy footage... We did it a bit differently. In a vehicle that even downhill on German motorways doesn't go faster than 75 km/h and a route that doesn't match these characteristics, God knows, we tore off 3,500 km across Europe on our tour and crossed the Alps twice. In our luggage we had a large group of friends, a concrete mixer, building material, tools, good food and good music and the following mission: We visited DIY crews in all countries at different locations with our moving construction site in order to support them in the development of their spots on site and to network with each other.
The process was similar for most of the stops: arriving and meeting the locals at the spot, drinking some beer and thinking up some ramps. The next day we start building in the morning until in the middle of the night we lie completely finished next to the fresh concrete and once again we discuss that we should build a little less next time in order not to destroy ourselves completely. These thoughts have vanished again the next day, when one leaves for the city after the coffee in order to check out some spots with the locals or to discover new places. So we landed in the course of the tour at the most wacky places: An occupied area with a permanently heated outdoor pool, ice-cold rivers completely located in nature, an abandoned gas station or a gigantic, occupied factory site with several skate parks on different levels. On the fourth and last day, the new ramps were solemnly desecrated, only to set off again a short time later and repeat the whole thing at a completely new location. We slept in the bus, in tents, under bridges or simply on the street, washed ourselves in lakes, brooks, the sea and at gas stations, drank bag red wine, baked pizza during the trip and ate a whole calf from the grill. Always in a constantly changing community.
+ Format: Builder´s Jam
What's the best way to plan a large construction site where between 20 and 200 people volunteer to build things in a very short time that would immediately crash any project management software and its project manager? Not at all. At Builder's Jam we provide all the framework conditions and infrastructure - materials, tools, catering - that enable the participants to work smoothly. There is a clear goal and a timeframe, but no ready-made implementation plans. This form of organization creates exceptional, empathetic forms of communication and ways within the group that turn a construction site into a collective mission. This creates a framework for intuitive planning in which everyone builds what they want, according to the common goal. The result is social interactions based on an emergent principle that create an unusual atmosphere and a collective hype that produces extraordinary results.
+ Method: Mobile Intervention
Thanks to our oldest team member - a double-decker bus built in 1979 - we are able to organise a tailor-made mobile intervention for every project and every occasion, which not only takes people away and brings ideas somewhere they haven't been before, but also generates additional attention and solves all (superficial) transport and (deeper) transfer questions in one go.
Photos: 1-28: Alex Shuktuev; 28-31: Joel Peck
On our arrival we were welcomed by more than 40 people, people took off their clothes, there were champagne showers and live concerts and on our departure it was clear that the friendships made here will continue long after the tour. After all, there is hardly a better way to really get to know people than to spend four days with them in such intensity. Partly the places were not any more so many ramps were built within a day or two. And if these places continue to exist, then the ramps will also remain. At each stop two to four people got on, others got off, and so we had a crew of different nations that was always new together. Especially this mixed crew made our trip special. While most skatetours are organised for a small elite of very good skateboarders, almost everyone was able to get on. Sure, you had to do something about it, but if you're not an ass and you're not too good for concrete work and occasional washing up, you'll be welcomed with open arms. And each of the existing crew was willing to sacrifice a little of their personal comfort to make this extraordinary trip possible for new people.The tour ended in Copenhagen, where, together with the local builders, we completed Parkour for the 2015 Copenhagen Open Finals, one of the most famous international Competition for the world's best skateboarders, built on a remote industrial area.
+ Method: Do-ocracy
The responsible person is the one who acts - individuals or groups choose their tasks and work areas themselves and act on their own responsibility. In this way, they assume responsibility for the respective results and consequences. We use this approach primarily to (re-)activate social and political participation through immediate measures and as a democratic instrument for the use, promotion and institutionalisation of transitory/performative urbanism.
+ Method: Co-production
Even after the co-creation process, we do not see ourselves as a mere implementation agency, but see it as a core task to involve as many people as possible with different backgrounds and motivations in the implementation of our projects. In our drafts we therefore do not only work site-specifically, but also group-specifically.
⟶ All Methods & Formats
Client: Levis Strauss Europe
Place: Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark
Friends: 2er Skate,
Chill Skateshop Zagreb
Yamato Living Ramps
⟶ Movement⟶ Community Building⟶ Skatepark⟶ Bus