Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel, photo by Bonnie Schorske

Corrina Mehiel is half way through the Masters Degree Program in Studio Arts at the University of the Arts, a program lasting almost three years and is independently driven with 45 artists from all over the world.  Corrina explained her public art project, Bike (PH)ix this way, “I am interested in the unspoken social conversation that’s going on. In each city there’s a different kind of conversation happening. I moved here last June and I had been to Philly a couple times but not really that much. I was really struck by the amount of stuff existing on the street and the street life here. People that are existing with objects that are either this kind of free-cycle thing that happens in Philly where people just take stuff but in other cities it’s taken to a donation center.”

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel

“Here it’s just outside your door. It’s like this unwritten code about that ‘it’s fine to just take things’ and then beyond that it seems that almost theft is acceptable here. Just this culture that the bikes get stripped and people don’t come back to get the parts and students coming out of the university just leave their bicycles when they go back home, so, to me the city is talking about a kind of detachment or something. In other places I’ve lived humans have such a strong object attachment and our identities are so wrapped up in our objects. Things that we are about, you know?”

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel, photo by Bonnie Schorske

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel, photo by Bonnie Schorske

“So, I’ve been thinking about these street objects – non-functional street objects like bikes, pay phones that don’t have phones, newspaper boxes with no newspapers, all these things that sort of exist here, that are permanent, I felt like,’Well? I guess they just exist.’, so, I never would have imagined the City would remove these bike frames. I was looking at them, thinking about it, thinking about it and then I did some work related to this, a sticker book collection, I did ink paintings of these objects as stickers sort of questioning where do these things belong. We know the function but they don’t have a function. I made a book, a typical book, referencing a coloring book or a book from childhood that would be blank outlines recognizable as Philly and pages of these stickers in color of these non-useable objects to give the viewer the opportunity to at least think about where these things go in the city.”

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel, photo courtesy of the artist

Bike (PH)ix by Corrina Mehiel, photo courtesy of the artist

Corrina Mehiel continued, “Thinking about the bikes, though, I have this love of transportation and movement. I traveled a lot, it’s like a compulsion, not like crazy, somewhere between doing my work and being a tourist. And just going to places and existing there with no money, it’s weird, I’ve gone to India many, many times and just to be…I like doing that kind of travel and then being in cities in the U.S. is a little more hyper-aware of objects.”

“I’m interested in this conversation but I’m also thinking about the idea of responsibility in the context of a utopian society and who’s to say what responsibilities we should be taking on. How much should we want to clean up our space? I don’t know if it matters. But, these ideas point out the need to change the feeling of a neighborhood and that it leads to people taking care of their homes and they all layer on top of each other.”

Corrina Mehiel‘s story and adventures in guerilla art-bike repairs is on her blog “a year of making things“.

Written and photographed by DoN except where noted. Thank you to Bonnie Schorske for sharing her photographs and Joe Girandola, Director of MFA Program in Studio Art at University of the Arts for his enthusiastic introduction to Corrina Mehiel.

Most of the bikes are gone already but this is where they were if you think you saw one:

Broad and Lombard (SW corner)

Pine between 15th and Broad (North side)

Pine between 9th and 8th (South side)

Walnut and 18th Street

Spruce and 13th Street

Lombard and 16th Street

15th between Pine and Lombard (West side)

12th and Vine (West side)

11th and Appletree

11th and Cherry

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