In the past few years a growing number of cities worldwide have been (re)discovering the use of the bicycle. Sustainability plays a large role in the motivation behind the revival of the bicycle and takes on different challenges, placing itself in a new and relevant social position. The question then remains whether or not the revitalization and new positioning of the bicycle could contribute to the livability of society.
The documentary Genre De Vie researches the present effects of this form of transport and the lifestyle that is attached to it though research into already existing initiatives that play a crucial role in the revitalization of the bicycle. By taking a global perspective the documentary makers form a clear view on the transformation of cities and urban living. Concentrating also on the effects of the bicycle from a socio-cultural standing point within the individual is central.
Genre De Vie is a documentary that focuses mainly on city’s that already promote a pro bicycle lifestyle. This coming from a viewpoint, that the bicycle is a positive development on the social and environmental structure and hence of profound effect on the living quality of its inhabitance. The documentary concentrates on individuals that plan yearly races in the post-industrial landscape of the city, and the sociological processes in which the bike plays a pivotal role. It also focuses on the more general role of the bicycle with regards to personal experience and use of space.
Sven Prince and Jorrit Spoelstra started working as bike couriers in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. By experiencing the city in this way they developed a unique relationship with their direct surroundings. As time went on they realized that this unique view caused their appreciation for their city and surrounding to grow substantially and take on new forms. On a later date Sven Prince went on to study Social Geography at the University of Utrecht. During this same period Jorrit Spoelstra was inspired and effected by the interaction between the bicycle and the experience of space, using these influences in his work as a director and editor of documentary’s.
Genre De Vie
The well known geographer Vidal de la Blanche introduced the concept of ‘genre de vie’ (way of life) in the beginning of the 20th century. During this period the dominant view was that the greatest factor in determining lifestyle was ones natural surroundings. Videl added to this popular theory by stating that the personal meaning of one’s surroundings could be quite diverse, hence the reactions to ones surrounding can differ from person to person. Vidal was not a great believer of the social whole but was a front runner in the idea that people have a unique and individual relationship and reaction to the same surroundings.
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