The Polar Bear Earth Day Ride Performance was done on April 17th 2016, in connection to Earth Day New York's annual celebration on Union Square. In the previous years collaborations with Earth Day New York the focus has been on Electric Cars and Electric Vehicles of all kinds in collaboration with Mr. Green . This time around the focus was on bikes, as a way of CO2 neutral transportation, and on Polar Bears as the animal who suffers the most from the climate changes caused by among many things CO2. The route was specially designed to take place on New Yorks new bike lanes, officially called "Copenhagen Lanes".
In previous years performances with electric vehicles, the route of the GPS Tag has been "E", as part of Earth Day New York's "Be the E Campaign". The 2016 Campaign was "Car Free Earth Day".
Mr. Green and his Green Suited Crew has been since the first version during COP15 been undertaking the elements of performance, humor and flashmobbing as part of the event.
This time around CO2 Green Drive was in collaboration with the Danish Green Party "The Alternative" and their Political leader Uffe Elbæk. Mr. Elbæk held a speech on the main stage on Union Square, where he talked about the climate crisis we are facing, about the positive results from COP21 in Paris along with giving a Huge Green Hug from Copenhagen to New York!
Next to the stage was the Unbearable sculpture by Jens Galschiøt. A sculpture that the day before was installed in a large scale version in front of the Parliment in Copenhagen. See more in the end of the article.
Uffe was not all dressed out in white, but being a Grey Polar Bear worked out well too! Next to him is the New York based Danish Top Model Terese Pagh, who had gone all out in her Polar Bear Dressing Styles.
The GPS Tag CO2 Route webinterface, with logos from the collaborators CO2 Green Drive, Tine's Up, Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space and Earth Day New York/Earth Day Initiative in each corner.
The performance could be seen LIVE during on: http://co2greendrive.gilvader.dk/ny16.html
The CO2 Route started on 22nd Street and 5th Avenue. In above image just above Union Square on Broadway and 18th Street. The group are The Polar Bear Bike Performers, who with their CO2 Green Drive GPS APP was about to push "Start" and thereby paint the orange virtual brush stroke on the streets of New York.
The "C" in the CO2 route started by the above phonebox, where a collect call was made to Lord Gilvader in Copenhagen, letting him know that the ride was On, like Ron. Hello Mr. Anderson.
Everone made sure they started their APP so they could be the artists, the art and initiate the performance.
The Copenhagen Lanes have many different shapes and colors in New York. Sometimes it is just two wide White Lines on the ground, as above.
Uffe's personal assistant Mark Hessellund Beanland was also part of the perfromance, on one of New York own CitiBikes that can be rented all over the city. In above image going south by the Chelsea Piers on West Side.
"So, now we have just finnished the "C" as we enter 6th Avenue going north as we start on the "O", said the guy with the Orange pants.
You in the Blue, Strike a pose! Great light came upon the performers as they left West Village and went north on 6th Avenue.
In above photo of Bill Di Paola, who is the Founder of the environmental organization and bike activist group Time's Up! Bill documented most of the ride with his mobile phone and uploaded videos and images throughout the ride on the Facebook page for Time's Up, with their almost 7000 followers.
The above video of Terese on the route was done by Bill, and soon got many likes!
Stand Alone in the Land of Clones - said the Blue Bird! Two Blocks that way.
This Polar Bear Rider stood alone in the land of clones, waiting for the red light, for one moment in time.
The Freedom Tower has replaced The Twin Towers as the new icon seen in skyline of the city. Not my cup of tea, but then again I prefere coffee.
YS SEEN YOU, CO2
At times one could suspect the ride of being some kind of undercover Fashion show or shoot.
The performers stopped outside the legendary Club Limelight, housed in a classic old Gothic Church, on 20th Street and 6th Avenue.
Even Uffe could tell stories about his adventures at Limelight back in the days. And so could Yrs Truly.
Shades and Sun
That way, just keep going that way - with Bird & CC
The final spurt down 10th street to end the "O" by the Triangle Project artist Baris in full Polar Bear gear.
A final photo from the performance with the Danish Biomega Bikes dressed out as Polar Bears. Biomega Bikes supported the performance by lending out four amazing bikes to be tested and seen in the streets of New York during Earth Day and later exhibited them at the annual New York Bike Expo. Thanks Biomega!
The above is a screenshot of the actual route that was done. The final version of the CO2 Tag is programmed to only show the CO2 letters and not the in-between-route that was done to cover all the coordinates for the streets creating the CO2 tag. The route was also selected to only be on Copenhagen Lanes, so it was going in the legally right directions throughout the route.
After the ride was over, all the performers was served a Magic Soup and Boreka by Dilara from Abracadabra. Dilara and her husband Ahmet are part of TheTriangle Project and have collaborated in version of the project in both Istanbul and Copenhagen too. Lately they have brought their brilliant food concept from Istanbul to superhip Williamsburg, where they have their restaurant on Bedford Avenue.
The freshly baked Boreka was delicious.
But, the Magic Soup was amazing! Just what a Polar Bear Peformer needs after a good ride.
Is Uffe looking into the Cup Dilara is holding?
Brendan & Bill
The always laughing and smiling Dilara!
Ahmet, Orange Pants and Dilara talking Turkish politics and old memories..
Banner with images from the 2011 version on Times Square - with Mr. Green representing.
Jens Galshiøt's Unbearable Polar Bear Sculpture, with camouflaged Biomega Bikes
The Unbearable Sculpture was during the day also placed by the booth of Michael Albert. Michael Albert is an old friend of the project and used to have a permanent floor with his art on the 3rd floor of the legendary Gershwin Hotel. However, his next door neighboors was not happy about the hardcore message and look of the sculpture. There were many children present and they felt it scared them a bit, so it was moved back be placed next to the mainstage. They question is if art should be scary, or just so shocking so people can wake up?
Yes, the Unbearable sculpture is sad and scary. It does scare children and even some adults, but this form of Intentional Art does make people think and react. Is it the role of the artist to take on the role in society to try and wake people up and make them think about life? Well, Mr. Galschiøt has been doing activist political art for over 20 years, and just keeps going on doing his art and his thing. He has also figureded out a way to make a living out of his art and therefore does not have to care what the official mainstream Danish art scene thinks. He really does not care and he does not need their money. Or as Andy Warhol put it: “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
Here is the large scale version, as mentioned in the beginning of the story. It is placed in front of the Danish Parliment, to be seen by Danish Politicians walking by and looking out their windows. It is also placed on a square in the heart of the city, with street full of cars, busses, bikes and pedestrains. Read more about the project in this Business Insider story.
Well, this sweet little squirrel was not impaled by anyone in the Polar Bear Performance group. Instead it got some Boreka and hung out on one of the bikes for a while.
Jesper Hyuk Larsen who in the above photo from Earth Day 2013 were interviewed by FOX News, took most of the photos in this post. Thanks Jesper, what would we do without you?
David Victor Rose and his Treehouse Factory Crew also showed up, hower a bit too late so the main riders had taken off. Thanks for showing up, and the outfits are great! See you next time, on time! (jk)
Yanna Paradise was another Triangle Project artist who was also missing for the performance, as she was in Europe for her own adventures. Yanna however, helped laying alot of the groundwork, coordinating the plans locally, leading up to the event. Yanna is part of the all women performance group called W.I.S.E .W.I.S.E. is a multi-faceted feminist and ever-evolving performance group. The letters W.I.S.E. are as changeable as the nature of reality. Such as "With Infinite Shakti Energy", "Women in Support of the Earth", "Wanderers Into Shamanic Exploration".
April 24th was spent on a rooftop belonging to Bryn in Williamsburg, with a spectacular view over the new Manhattan skyline. Many of the New York based Triangle artists were present celebrating 44 Orange years. The above image was done by Lucien Samaha.
Thanks again to everyone being part of the performance and this New York adventure!