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Introduction Who am I ? Jason Phillips PhD. student in Literary Studies at Wilfrid Laurier Completed my MA at McMaster What am I talking about ? I love.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction Who am I ? Jason Phillips PhD. student in Literary Studies at Wilfrid Laurier Completed my MA at McMaster What am I talking about ? I love."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction Who am I ? Jason Phillips PhD. student in Literary Studies at Wilfrid Laurier Completed my MA at McMaster What am I talking about ? I love skateboarding I study critical theory Through the magic of Cultural Studies, I get to talk about skateboarding as a serious academic topic.

2 Between Exploitation and Play: Skateboarding and the Negotiation of Resistance

3 What’s to be negotiated? Borden, Iain. Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body. New York: Berg, 2001 “Of Course, skateboard culture is commodified in that capitalism markets skateboarding back to its participants…But skateboarders try to resist even this process…[Skateboarder’s attempt to resist this commodification by gaining] some control over the manufacturing and retail process…Thus while capitalist economic relations between owners and staff are still largely upheld, there is an attempt made within skateboarding to inaugurate a separate circuit of capital which exists entirely within skaters, skaters buying from other skaters, who in turn reinvest in skateboarding.”

4 Part 1 Exploitation: Shoes Who are the D and C in DC?

5 D = Danny Way The greatest skateboarder of all time, ever. Two time Thrasher Magazine Skater of the Year Holder of world records

6 C = Colin McKay Canadian boy Most technically innovative vert skater

7 DC Shoes Authentic core brand ? (remember, skaters buying from skaters, closed circuit of capital as form of resistance) Or… May 2004 DC Shoes purchased by Quiksilver Inc. What is Quiksilver Inc.?

8 In their own words: Quiksilver has developed from a 1970s boardshort company into a multinational apparel and accessory company grounded in the philosophy of youth. Our mission is to become the leading global youth apparel company; to maintain our core focus and roots while bringing our lifestyle message of boardriding, independence, creativity and innovation to this global community. Individual expression, an adventurous spirit, authenticity and a passionate approach are all part of young people’s mindset and are the essence of our brands. Combine this with the aesthetic appeal of beaches and mountains, and a connection is established that transcends borders and continents. Include thirty-plus years of quality, innovation and style, and you have Quiksilver Annual Report

9 Sounds good so far… “Fiscal 2004 revenues totaled $1.27 billion, up 30% over fiscal 2003, and earnings per share increased 32% to $1.36. These results were well ahead of our initial forecasts as we exceeded expectations, once again, in every quarter of the year. Our mid-year acquisition of DC Shoes was responsible for a good piece of the upside; contributing approximately half of our annual consolidated sales growth during the six months that it was part of our results. Our stock traded at a record high this past November. We’re proud to have delivered this kind of value to our shareholders.” Whose authentic core values was that again?

10 Canadian Content: July 7, Quiksilver, Inc. (NYSE: ZQK - News) announced it has purchased the Canadian distributor of DC Shoes for approximately $7.0 million in cash. Robert B. McKnight, Jr., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Quiksilver, Inc., commented, "The acquisition of DC Shoes' Canadian distributor is another important step in our ongoing efforts to create a unified world-wide operating platform for our brands. We remain focused on expanding our leadership position in the global marketplace, as this transaction demonstrates. Looking ahead, we believe our prospects for growth continue to be excellent and we are fully committed to capitalizing on the positive momentum we have created to generate further value for our shareholders.“ Wasn’ t there something about youth and mountains and beaches earlier?

11 Why am I talking about shoes ? Shoes are the most profitable segment of the skateboard market. In the last couple of years Nike and Reebok have entered the skateboard shoe market, signing top talent and spending millions on marketing.

12 Nike, Dischord, and a Minor Threat. Can you see the difference?

13 Did Nike ask to use the image? "No, they stole it and we're not happy about it. Nike is a giant corporation which is attempting to manipulate the alternative skate culture to create an even wider demand for their already ubiquitous brand. Nike represents just about the antithesis of what Dischord stands for and it makes me sick to my stomach to think they are using this explicit imagery to fool kids into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission. It's disgusting." - Dischord Records rep.

14 So what is this alternative skate culture? Judith A. Davidson, “Sport and Modern Technology: The Rise of Skateboarding, ” – rise and fall and rise of skateboarding; technology and corporate involvement. Becky Beal, “Disqualifying the Official: An Exploration of Social Resistance Through the Subculture of Skateboarding.” – skating as non- competitive, resistant to authority.

15 Part 2: Play (and a bit of theory) Skateboards are toys. Skateboarding’s not a sport. Skateboards are just things kids PLAY with. How can skateboarding actively resist anything and cause things to change ?

16 This is the theory bit: Borden, Iain. "A Performative Critique of the American City: the Urban Practice of Skateboarding, “ “But from the early 1980s onward, skateboarding has increasingly gone back to the streets, not so much to the suburban drives of California but to the inner city cores of other cities worldwide.” The CBD – Central Business District

17 Borden, Iain. Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body. New York: Berg, 2001 Borden describes the architectural design of urban spaces, especially CBDs, as being increasingly designed for efficient commodity production and exchange, for the facilitation of commerce. Skateboarding redefines or re-signifies the value of these spaces. “Skateboarding involves a critique of the processes of exchange and consumption in the modern city, and, above all else, proposes a reassertion of use values as opposed to exchange values.”

18 What…? Skateboarders use urban architecture for purposes other than what it was originally designed for. This is the central point made by Craig Stecyk in the Dogtown documentary. Architectural structures take on a different meaning. Skateboarding is also a very visible activity. It takes place in the public eye, in public space, an important element for counter- or sub-cultural activity.

19 Back to Borden “Skaters’ representations thus have more in common with the Situationist tactics of the dérive, détournement and psychogeography – "maps" composed from the opportunities offered by the physical and emotional contours of the city, and, above all, enacted through a run across different spaces and moments.”

20 Situationist derive…what? Situationist International: an organization formed in 1957, reaching a high point in 1968, and disbanding in A synthesis of other movements concerned with architecture and language/meaning. Main figure is Guy Debord

21 Debord says: “Our central idea is that of the construction of situations…the concrete construction of momentary ambiances of life and their transformation into a superior passional quality” An interaction between “the material environment of life and the comportments [behaviours] which it gives rise to and which radically transform it.”

22 Dérive “Dérive [literally: ‘drifting’], a technique of transient passage through varied ambiences. The dérive entails playful constructive behaviour and awareness of psycho-geographical effects.”

23 Playing: a visual representation Warren Ounjian – downtown Toronto. Watch for the ollie over the homeless guy.

24 Detournement “…the reuse of preexisting artistic elements in a new ensemble” “The two fundamental laws of detournement are the loss of importance of each detourned element – which may go so far as to lose its original sense completely – and at the same time the organization of another meaningful ensemble that confers on each element its new scope and effect” “…a negation of the value of the previous organization of expression.”

25 Playing#2: a visual representation Remember the CBD and Borden’s assertion of architecture designed to facilitate commerce. Note the interactions with security forces opposed to the negation of the commercial value of architecture through the act of skateboarding.

26 But what about active resistance? The Bumrush Summer of 2003 numerous “Bumrushes” were organized in downtown Toronto through online message boards and word of mouth (horizontal networking). Active resistance against security forces and their increasingly aggressive approach to protecting urban architecture. Intention was to quantitatively overwhelm security.

27 Playing #3: a visual representation

28 Results of active resistance Spectrum/PGM/Space2Place Retained to Design & Plan Three Skateparks for The City of Toronto Toronto, ON – The team of Spectrum Skatepark Creations, PGM Landscape Design, & Space2Place, has been retained by the City of Toronto to design three new Skateboard Parks. The parks are located at: Ashbridges Bay, Stan Wadlow, & Ellesmere. The Ashbridges Bay Skatepark is currently the largest planned Skatepark for Southern Ontario. Design workshops are scheduled for early August, We are welcoming all interested Toronto skaters who would like to be involved to attend. For more info us at or contact the City of Toronto.

29 Resources _on_skateboarding.htm or 054_a_performative_critique_of.htmlhttp://www.psychogeography.co.uk/borden _on_skateboarding.htm 054_a_performative_critique_of.html n/PS.html - The Poetics of Security: Skateboarding, Urban Design, and the New Public Space by Ocean Howellhttp://www.urbanstructure.com/urbanactio n/PS.html


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