Us members of somehow still-functioning society are no strangers to pendulum swings: anything that veers too far to one side is due for a correction. Safe, digestible art gets confronted by messy experimental art. An army of skaters in slim highwaters eventually gets run over by a parade of Big Boys and their imitators.
Except is boring art ever more than a reappraisal away from being a “return to form?” Can your pants really be out of date and not simultaneously years ahead of their time?
The story of skaters is at-once the tale of the spaces that we inhabit along the way — but nobody needs another boring rant about how we ended up with a lot of skateparks. There are very few skatepark holdouts left; the defiant act of being “skatepark sober” requires a monk-like asceticism. Like Amazon and Seamless, most people caved to their convenient evils a long time ago. L.E.S. Skatepark turns 10 (!) this year.
In the years since, a bunch of shit happened and we arrived at a skateable space sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. At that point, you knew there was only one place for the pendulum left to go…
…and it went towards brilliant works of expanding-brain madness like those you see above.
The shaved-down edges of skatepark culture can only be countered by the sorts of inanities that bored skateboarders are particularly adept at creating. For instance, a road sign was once understood as piece of punctuation on a skate spot — one that covers a crack or obfuscates a curb — but now, its role has been multiplied into creating a spot in and of itself.
In fact, the pedulum went so far towards the other end that it swung past a lot of skateboarders’ brains. “Imagine just wanting to skate the box and showing up to this ding dongerey” is how one veteran observer reacted to the construction of a first-sixty-degree-day-at-Tompkins masterpiece just weeks ago.
Skateboarding can be understood as being at its absolute best when it leaves regular people dumbfounded by our idiocy, idiosyncrasies, cool pants, shockingly hot girlfriends/boyfriends, etc. There has always been a smug satisfaction at rolling away from a trick in the face of some stupid lame-o who doesn’t “get it” — who, just ten minutes ago, was telling you that you were going to break your stupid fucking neck.
But to get it to a point where skateboarders themselves are like, “Wtf is this spot? You’re gonna break your stupid fucking neck” — well, that party is just beginning. And it’s gonna be good 😈