‘Your parcel has been delivered (to your neighbour)’ is a performance and ongoing installation that involves rental bikes being retrieved from public space and placed in the private gallery space. Rental bikes in public usually fall over at some point, or get kicked over by pranksters. Nobody cares. All rental bikes collected are laid out—their quasi-natural status—on the floor of the gallery. A PTZ (pan tilt and zoom) CCTV dome camera, typical for surveillance in public, auto-tracks and records the process. Visitors are invited to become a temporary owner of one of the bikes by renting it.
In recent years, Internet startup market logic has reached far beyond classic online markets. More and more ‘IRL’ economies are being affected by the ‘disruptive’ force of the new business model from California. With the efficiency of networked software, low-wage outsourced labor, and data delivering customers the only goal is growth. The startup doesn’t need to be profitable. In fact, one of the golden rules is not to make a profit, not to pay tax, and to be much cheaper and smarter than everyone else until competitors go bankrupt.
In the beginning, this ‘game’ was played solely within data-based information business. Google and Facebook led the way and showed us how to make money from user data while giving away products for free. Today, we are witness to slow changes in the cityscape. Streets have been crowded with delivery vans for years. Delivery businesses boomed in the wake of ever-increasing online shopping. Order anything! They’ll deliver it to your neighbour immediately. Instant rental cars, gamified Pokemon crowds, and bicycle food delivery armies followed. Very recently, Berlin’s public space has become crowded with at least 20 different brands of rental bikes. New startups, local and international. All of them have the same old idea: “Rent a bicycle where ever you are!” All of them burn a lot of VC (venture capital) money and bikes increase to possibly become the monopoly in this field.
Public space is increasingly inhabited by advertising and corporate models. The colorful bikes scattered all over the city are a very visible sign of the uberfication of private life and commercialization of public space.
Aram Bartholl, 2018