SEASON I

Program 01 15.10.05
Program 02 22.10.05
Program 03 29.10.05
Program 04 05.11.05
Program 05 12.11.05
Program 06 19.11.05
Program 07 26.11.05
Program 08 03.12.05
Program 09 10.12.05
Program 10 17.12.05
Program 11 25.12.05
Program 12 07.01.06
Program 13 14.01.06
Program 14 21.01.06
Program 15 28.01.06
Program 16 04.02.06
Program 17 11.02.06
Program 18 18.02.06
Program 19 25.02.06
Program 20 04.03.06
Program 21 11.03.06
Program 22 18.03.06
Program 23 25.03.06
Program 24 01.04.06
Program 25
08.04.06
Program 26 15.04.06
Program 27 22.04.06
Program 28 29.04.06


SEASON II

Program 01 14.10.06
Program 02 21.10.06
Program 03 28.11.06
Program 04 04.11.06
Program 05 11.11.06
Program 06 18.11.06
Program 07 25.11.06
Program 08 02.12.06
Program 09 09.12.06
Program 10 16.12.06
Program 11 23.12.06
Program 12 30.12.06
Program 13 06.01.07
Program 14 13.01.07
Program 15 20.01.07
Program 16 27.01.07
Program 17 03.02.07
Program 18 10.02.07
Program 19 17.02.07
Program 20 24.02.07
Program 21 03.03.07
Program 22 10.03.07
Program 23 17.03.07
Program 24 24.03.07
Program 25 31.03.07
Program 26 07.04.07
Program 27 14.04.07
Program 28 21.04.07
Program 29 28.04.07

Rainer Ganahl
Bicycling Damascus

2004, 90 min. (video, color, sound)

 

 

Program 25 April 8, 2006

 

The camera extends.

Rainer Ganahl
Bicycling Damascus

2004, 90 min. (video, color, sound)

Bicycling Damascus is my second video - after Bicycling Tirana - for which I visit a city with a bicycle. I bicycle against the traffic while filming without holding the steering wheel. I drive for 90 minutes around this ancient city filming directly across the steering wheel thus rendering it into cross hairs. This brings me through a variety of different neighborhoods and places that give a cityscape quite surprising to see. This risky and unlawful engagement with the bicycle, the city and my camera creates an anti-gravitational epic of traffic jams, busy people and a colorful middle eastern street live in a country, the US State Department considers to be involved with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
(Syria indeed does have very bad human right reports and still has to come to terms with the massacre of Hama, a rebellious city where president Assad ordered 1982 the killing of around 40.000 inhabitants.)
The bicycle is not only my unique vehicle of transportation but also my urban eyeglass - some extension of my visual and acoustic organs. As such it is a real social urban interface. I'm a bicycle rider since early childhood. My first birthday present I remember was a bicycle. I have never stayed in a place for long without a bicycle, including in Tokyo where I was harassed daily by the police for riding a bicycle. (I was considered a bicycle thief).

The bicycle I used in Damascus was lent to me. I hired it for half the price of a new Syrian bicycle. The bicycle was lent to me by a tailor. Syria has a beautiful domestic bicycle production. They all look the same but don't even function as new one's in the shop. The more useable bicycles are now imported from China. (I hope I don't offend anybody with my comment but unfortunately, that was my experience: Ii fell in love with the local 'every body the same bicycle' but I came to understand that it was nearly impossible to ride them, nothing functioned properly - that kept me from buying one, from exporting one)
A part from this lousy = expensive = lending practice, the bicycle lent to me was very bad. Not only did it have barely any breaks but also, the bicycle was shaking to the point of ...me falling off. It took me about one hour to get used to it. Riding without holding the steering wheel requires a bicycle that is stable and predictable, in particular if one drives dangerously.
This bicycle was shaking nonstop and performed quite dangerously. I had a couple of quasi-accidents and falloffs.
In the end I survived.