By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Recycling is bigger than ever at West Seattle Summer Fest this year.
Not just because the festival zone in The Junction this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be aiming for Zero Waste … nor is it just because sustainability is in the spotlight in the GreenLife area again this year.
Recycling will also happen in the form of interactive art, via a first-time feature called Hack-cycle – which you could say puts the “cycle” in “recycling.”
“We’ll have equipment for people to dissemble and reconfigure bikes,” explains Rusty Oliver (right), a metalwork artist and instructor who’s based in South Park. But there’s a lot more to it than that.
If you know Rusty’s work, we have to say, it’ll be tamer than a lot of what he’s known for, such as art with flames:
However Hack-cycle plays out, consider it your introduction to metal art – just bring a bike, not part of a bike, but a bike you’re willing to, well, reconfigure, as part of what might be Summer Fest’s most memorable interactive activity yet … human-powered, in multiple ways.
With the business All Metal Arts and the volunteer organization Hazardfactory, Rusty’s passion is “proselytiz(ing) for industrial art,” among other things, and “taking steel that would otherwise go into the recycling stream, and giving it a second life.” The fun and the funkiness might echo another event he mentions – Power Tool Drag Racing at the annual Georgetown festival:
If you have a bike in the basement – or rusting in the yard – or about to be replaced, bring it to Hack-Cycle. “Maybe something you’ve outgrown, or just neglected.” And this is hands-on – you don’t just stand around and watch Rusty do something with it, you’ll get a crash course in welding and other tools and get to help do it yourself.
Nothing too dangerous, mind you. No open flames. No sharp-toothed cutters. Even though Rusty’s business card describes him as “injuretainer and artsonist.” It’ll be “more like the welding in ‘Flashdance’,” he laughs. Paint will not be involved, either. Too messy, Rusty says. This is all about working with the metal.
There’s one point to reiterate: Bring intact bikes. No bike frames. “We need the tires.” And the point is, if possible, to end up with something rideable. Examples? Maybe a “tall bike.” Maybe a “stretch bike.”
How did Rusty wind up connecting with Summer Fest for this? A connection with Twilight Artist Collective, which, as always, is bringing the “Art Dive” to the festival – though take note, Hack-cycle has its own spot, on SW Alaska, east of the heart of the festival, near Junction Plaza Park – designated as H on this map from the Summer Fest website:
On Friday, he’ll be setting up and doing prep work. Then Hack-cycle is in full swing on Saturday and Sunday. Once the creations are complete, they might be shown off in the informal performance area that’ll be set up in the heart of The Junction at California/Alaska. Depends on how much “rideable stuff” is created, he allows. The plan itself is still a work in progress.
What if you don’t have a bike to bring? You can still participate – and it doesn’t even require grabbing one of the aforementioned tools. Rusty plans to set up a “dynamo” so that people can ride – yes, a bike – to generate power for some of the tools. Show up and pedal. (Perhaps a good plan for burning off calories from food-booth treats or fabulous Junction restaurants.) It shouldn’t be too exhausting, since he notes the tools will use “low-voltage DC.”
16 and over, please. Show up at the Hack-cycle “orientation desk” (again, this is on Alaska between California and 42nd) with that bike you’re willing to transform into something new. Don’t waste a minute thinking you’re not ready: “We want total novices … I’m perfectly comfortable with people who have held nothing more sophisticated than a screwdriver.” (He means it; he’s an instructor by trade as well as an artist – welding, robotics, and more.)
Participation will be free, though you’ll have the opportunity to donate to help with the costs. We also asked if he’ll be taking donated bicycles from anyone who does NOT have the time or inclination to participate in Hack-cycle – if it’s a “complete” bicycle, sure, he said, they can use it.
So bring that no-longer-loved/needed bike to West Seattle Summer Fest this weekend and look for Hack-Cycle. Next to the bike parking, of course.
Don’t wait till Friday – plan your Summer Fest visit now, with the music schedule, the vendor list, the live GreenLife demonstration rundown, and more, all at wsjunction.org/summerfest. WSB is proud to be among the Summer Fest co-sponsors again this year.