That's What's Up: The New 2020 DVD

Opening the video is Kevin Keefs Neil, an Australian caricature whose satirical dialogue creates an interesting point of departure for the video. Although he talks about his linage in a jovial manner, the lighthearted comments on the ABD become especially apparent when the wider context of the video is considered (Vocko’s rail to rail). Avoiding an in depth discussion on the ethical nuances of the ABD, I think instead that intro was solely for the lol’s. Which sets a nice and joyful tone for a BMX DVD from sunny Australia.

The introduction features various antics associated with BMX riding and youth to a ‘garage punk’ soundtrack. The quick cuts mirror the fast pace of the music and create a harmonious package that is only interrupted by a quick snippet of Rhys Yeomans’ face. There is also a quick clip of Liam Zingbergs where he models his signature open mouth ‘look’ which was the catalyst of an innocent smile. There is also a clip of some of the BMX riders in the video eating at an Asain restaurant, a device used by Charlesworth to imply that culture does in fact exist in Queensland. The ending few clips of this section are of people eating shit. Michael Vockenson takes a digger in the last clip. This made me stop and reflect on the absurdity of BMX and through extension, the world. Why the fuck would some perfectly able young gentleman want to throw himself on to a massive handrail? Perhaps it is for his own satisfaction and adrenaline rush or perhaps for the respect of his peers and as a reinforcement of his own ego. Maybe neither of these reasons matter. In a time when we are crippled by fear, the driving power of the economy, its really fucking healthy, to have some psycho out there going hard in the paint; what a wonderful start to the video.

Jerry has the opening section and does some BMX tricks to a hip hop song. I haven’t really paid much attention to Jerry’s riding in the past; I’m not really sure why to be honest. He rides at a very high level and is my team mate. This makes me feel quite embarrassed as his natural ability and quality of riding is far beyond anything I would be capable of. His riding is smooth, does a few x – up grinds (Oooooo), gap to rails and these weird ass crank arm crook things. Very ingenious. He is also in a lot of the clips taking photos throughout the rest of the film. I really don’t like that big 4WD car thing he drives though.

Troy has created a very strong aesthetic and logic for this video. The logic of this aesthetic includes the fast (lifestyle) cuts I mentioned before juxtaposed with riding clips saturated in some very pleasing warm colours. He does however continually and randomly make some clips black and white which I didn’t like. He also shot a lot of architectural footage and footage of people commuting within these structures and sped these clips up.  Although the methodology is quite simple and na├»ve compared to the sophistication of the recent Supreme video, it is very effective and would no doubt win over a wide audience. I commend Troy on this production and having a proper HD camera that makes shit look very good. In an interview I watched online, he commented that the colours were a very important part of the production and why he needed to film it all himself. I think this was a highly important choice he made and one he should be very pleased with, as it paid off significantly.

In between the riders sections there are just a whole lot of Australian BMX riders doing tricks. The Californian trails clips were especially notable because they were very pretty and sunset-ish. Technically, there was one moment that perplexed me. I’m still not sure what the hell was going on in the fisheye clip of Ammon doing that gigantic 360. It seems Troy clone stamped over something? Maybe he was looking at a nudie mag while Ammon was setting up? Also, the first time I watched it I didn’t like the fuzzy typefaces, they just didn’t seem to fit with very high standard of the rest of the production. On the second watch they didn’t bother me at all, which makes me feel that my initial opinion should now be considered redundant.

I was disappointed that Liam’s part wasn’t longer but he did some very impressive tricks and I was very much enthralled when I saw him do that long ass feeble grind. Nick does a lot of good tricks in his part too. It is an eye opener and I did not know he was riding at a very solid international professional level – well done Nick.

M Vockenson closes out the video with a lot of death defying tricks. I find it very invigorating that he just goes ham and sends himself over so much crazy stuff. I would particularly like to focus on his last trick. It is entirely absurd. For those of you who don’t know my art practice is primarily informed by the way that young males try to understand and define their masculinity through risk taking behavior. Thus I am very interested in people who do dangerous things and how they justify the risk and what drives them. I once saw some professional MTB riders do some crazy shit over these massive jumps. One of them ate shit really badly, jumped up screaming is “is [my nose] broken, is it broken” and upon being told it wasn’t, ran back up to the roll in and tried the trick again. I find this example both enticing and retarded, but above all am excited about the way certain people are able to harness commitment, negotiate their conscience and defy its risk impeding capacity and go all out. Adrenaline also plays a large part of this process.

Well, the last clip is completely insane. I honestly think that the factors he was up against were strongly not in his favour. The uneven take off, the insane distance etc. all made me think his odds were quite low. I could see the root in the take off giving him a terrible anti pop. What I am also captivated by, is the fact that he looked at the set up and knew, through his years of riding, that he had the capability to launch himself across the gap. He obviously could feel and visualise in his body that he would be able to make the distance. This innate knowledge is pretty amazing. The fact that his body instinctively was able to work out the physics of the jump and to intuitively know it could make the distance is so fucking cool. Well done Michael, you are very brave and a very interesting example of the capacity of harnessing the human body. He also only made it by about 3 or 4cms. Such commitment and understanding of his ability.  

In conclusion, this feature was enjoyable and by far the best quality production ever to come out of Australia. The level of the riding and the technical aesthetic of the film was exceptional. The DVD or .mp4 is easily of a top worldwide BMX standard. Congratulations to all riders involved, Troy and Matt and Mike at 2020. You can purchase the video online through the 2020 site, or at any good newsagency. 

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