Over the last years, Nairobi has undergone intensified gentrification – a lasting boom rapidly turning the city’s former industrial slums into financial districts. The same period has seen the emergence of a new bicycle subculture. Its open membership and geographical mobility run counter to the fixed ascriptions of ethnic identity which are otherwise all-important in Kenya; but at the same time, it also provides a way to tap into brand experiences of global capitalism, for which subcultures are yet another source of profit. In The Bike Gang, Sam Hopkins and John Kamicha use strategies of collective and collaborative filmmaking to illuminate this bicycle subculture in an intimate portrait of a small group.
For these young men, many of them artists, cycling is not about keeping healthy or about getting from A to B: it is about belonging, eating, drinking and taking drugs. This extreme tendency is distilled in the practice of hanging: cycling in the slipstream of trucks. After the screening, Sam Hopkins engages in a conversation with researcher and activist NEIL CUMMINGS.
Sam Hopkins is a Nairobi-based visual artist. He participated in a broad spectrum of local and international exhibitions and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of the Arts London. John Kamicha is a Nairobi-based artist. His work has also been shown extensively in Nairobi, the Netherlands and the United States.
Image: The Bike Gang, HD video, 30′, 2016, Swahili and English with English subs