Shaun Gladwell: BMX Channel

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015-Sunday, Oct 04, 2015
BMX Channel
Shaun Gladwell
BMX Channel
2013, HD video. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Museum purchase with funds donated by The Mark & Hilarie Moore Family Trust, 2014.17 ©Shaun Gladwell.

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Known for combining extreme sports and performance, Shaun Gladwell’s work often uses video and photography to depict solitary figures enacting rigorous choreography. In this video, BMX Channel, Gladwell follows Welsh bicyclist Matti Hemmings as he performs a technical style of BMX riding called “flatland,” distinct for its break-dance-like movement on flat surfaces. The video is set against a washed out and grey backdrop, contrasting the Southern Californian origins of the BMX style. The Union Jack and Edwardian colonnade that frame the bicyclist’s performance hint to the popularity of the BMX style on the Southeast coast of the U.K. As the performance moves through the landscape, Gladwell’s video distorts the viewer’s understanding of space and time through the use of slow motion, long shots, and panoramic views. These fluctuations highlight not just the athleticism of the sport but also the rhythmic and poetic movement of the performance, both intensely choreographed and highly improvised.