Bike theft is a major issue in Portland. So far this year we’ve had 259 bikes posted to our Stolen Bike Listings and the numbers are on the upswing. Now a pair of graduate students at Portland State University want to raise public awareness about bike theft and they’ve got a novel idea how to do it.
Erin Charpentier is a student working on her Master of Fine Arts degree in PSU’s Art and Social Practice program. “This means,” wrote Charpentier in an email today, “that my creative practice involves social engagement in some form. This can look like a lot of different things; education, activism, participatory performance, creative interventions.”
During a class meeting several months ago, Charpentier’s classmate Zach Gough got his bike stolen from the rack directly outside the Museum of Contemporary Craft in downtown Portland (NW 8th and Davis). In response, Charpentier and Gough decided to collaborate on a workshop that will “explore the craft of bike theft” and launch an “open source visual campaign to empower cyclists to make bike theft visible.”
Charpentier says the workshop, Bike Theft Storytelling and Theft Site Identification, was inspired by DIY communication models like ghost bikes and hobo symbols. As for the visual campaign, Charpentier said the idea is to call attention to the location of the theft.
“The idea is that when a bike is stolen, you mark the rack or pole with a red stripe (duct tape/fabric/marker). An accumulation of stripes would indicate a hot spot and call for caution when locking there.”
The workshop is April 30th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Learn more at the event website.