The Last Shall Be First and the First Shall Be Last

The Fluxus Olympiad took place over the late May bank holiday weekend at the Tate Modern and one of the highlights was a Slow Bicycle Race in which a handful of Bike Show presenters, contributors and listeners raced to see who was the slowest.

In the 1970’s, Fluxus artists created games that subverted the seriousness of high art and encouraged participants to celebrate everyday occurrences rather than static art objects. Created in 1961 by the artist George Maciunas, the term Fluxus was originally intended as the title of a magazine that would document new art. Fluxus, a word chosen by Maciunas for its connotation of change, became a loose association of artists, some of whom were making work that the original Fluxus publication meant to document. Fluxus drew upon a combination of sources that included Dada, Duchamp’s readymades, Surrealism, Futurism, Spike Jones, and the music of John Cage to counter the belief that the experience of art was superior to that of life.

Games became an important means for Fluxus artists to disseminate and explore their ideas about art. Because games lend themselves to humor, often require physical participation, and undermine the seriousness of art that certain Fluxus artists opposed, they were a perfect medium for Fluxus expression and experimentation.

The usual International Olympic Committee Rules on slow bicycle racing applied over the 50 metre course: stay in lane, no feet down, freewheels only and no track-stand funny business. View the action replay: