Who Steals Bikes?

Studio: Second Nature : Urbanism and the Anthropocene
Instructor: Mark Shepard
By Mahan Mehrvarz

“Who steals bikes?” is a fictioinal social experiment in response to the cohabitation of two specific conditions in context of the city of Amsterdam, Netherlands. One is ‘bike theft’ and the other is ‘aversive racism’. An Online project has been announced to solve the ‘bike theft’ which is in fact a long term social experiment highlighting the problem of aversive racism. It stands on the foundations of emerging social media, database theory, and locative media from one side and behavior psychology from another one. The project seeks to introduce or at least examine a new possibility; which is to reshape people’s prejudices by projecting individual believes as collective ones in order to increase the validation of it. The project to use locative media not to catch bike thieves, but to examine the possibility of reshaping people’s assumption on/about bike theft. The goal of the experiment was to raise the questions that “How locative media can reshape and reform people’s prejudices”. And furthermore, to make people think about their pre-existed prejudice.

A conceptual prototype of it  has been tested in May 2015 during the Final review of the ‘Next Nature studio’ instructed Mark Shepard. The prototype was giving the illusion of control to three participants by giving the feeling of controlling light of a dark room to them while in fact the predetermined computer code was keeping the light more or less red.