The Theatre of the Ural – A Play in Breakdowns is the result of a currently existing 2 year mobile residency on Ural 650s with sidecars. The reason for pinning down this 2 year expedition as a "theatre" comes from the Ural 650's strong affinity to constantly breaking down. During our breakdowns we enter a "fixing performance" where people, regardless of social, economic or disciplinary background have the choice to enter our play. The breakdown or the play requires mechanical (rational) solutions which are very often affected by emotional (irrational) factors. What is interesting about our play is how people, cultures and ideas come together for an un-bordered communication which results in efficient problem solving.
GETTING TO KNOW THE URAL
None of us is a mechanic nor do we have a long history with riding bikes. Our driving licences came along with preparing for the journey.
Our first contact with this motorcycle came through a conversation with our publisher at Karren. It was suggested that we look into these machines because they have a reputable DIY culture surrounding them. This meant they would be easy to get to know, fix and find compatible spare parts for (especially in post soviet regions.) Another factor was the sidecar of course which would enable us to survive in remote regions with spare parts, fuel and food supplies and would also give us space to get creative along way.
GENEAOLOGY + STATUS QUO
This side-car motorcycle is manufactured in Irbit (close to the Ural mountain regions) and is linked to developments in the eastern front during WWII.
For some, these machines are glued to historical, political and geographical situations, while others stand around bewildered by the funny-looking recreational vehicles. For us the Ural not just a way of transporting luggage, or getting from point A to point B in record time. We are not old timer fans nor mechanics. The most important quality we see in these motorcycles is that they are a key to communication.
These transportation tools are the cause of reactions which serve as a substantial communication key -- a bridge to locals along a journey which weaves through the regions of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia and the Far East of Russia. It also stretches itself to the other side of the pie: We see fascination and empathy stirring all the way through the more westernized context of Alaska, Canada and the US.
THE BREAKDOWN (IN OUR CONTEXT) IS THE VEHICLE BY WHICH WE STUDY NETWORKING THROUGH FAILURE
A re-occurring event of co-accidental origins which is tailgated by constantly shifting conditions – one could also call it a mobile routine.
Due to the frequent amount of breakdowns, and hence the frequent amount of solutions to be found, there is a variation of roles and positions we seem to assume as a group whenever a glitch occurs. Some important questions to take into account are: