Chapter 1: The Bicycle Project
The birth of the bicycle project came out of my frustration of having many bikes stolen. It is a hazard of New York City life. How many of us have locked up a bike only to come back and find the seat missing, the tires gone, or various other parts removed? Sometimes the whole bike is gone and only the mangled lock remains.
As the project evolved it took on a new meaning. In 1997 I started having autoimmune problems. My body changed. So did the meaning of the project. Since then, I've had my thyroid removed, a hysterectomy, and a stroke like incident leaving me with a speech language problem called aphasia. In April 2011, a brain tumor was removed.
With every surgery, I could relate to the bikes lying there with another part stripped away. As a direct result of this, I entered the world of Welfare, Food Stamps and Medicaid. Decisions about my health were not made by me. At times I was the bike and the lock. I felt locked into a system that I didn't know how to navigate. I felt like a bike with no wheels or handle bars to steer me. I felt cast aside and left to decay.
The project started out of my frustration of having my bikes stolen or their parts removed. It turned out to be my autobiography. I became the bikes. I felt abandoned and left behind by the system. On a much larger scale, the bikes represent sick and disabled people. How many of these bikes do we walk by everyday and not even notice?