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The Provo Bicycle Trick

The Provo Fietsenplan is among the better known of a series of “white plans” organized by the Provo movement—Amsterdam’s contribution to the array of subcultural insurgencies of the late 1960s. At once performance art, street theater, radical provocations, and more-or-less practical planning and policy proposals, white plans traversed aesthetic and political categories which had been aligned by modernism, but were then being destabilized and put under pressure. Concretely, the White Bicycle Plan was a simple proposition for a bicycle sharing program, presented as a Fluxus-style happening event for which a printed pamphlet provided a script or score. The score for the White Bicycle Plan was a simple, single page pamphlet written in ecstatic mode of beatnik neo-surrealism. I was, however able to create an intersection between a critique of technocratic planning, a conceptualization of urban space in, ‘late,’ post-Fordist, semiocapitalism, and a positing of new political subjectivities. By annotating its antecedents, and tracing its referents the fietsenplan can be used to translate between the languages of the these discourses, and understand this historical context, and the future—now contemporary—city it prefigured.

Publisher’s note