|Shinya Kimura's workshop|
"A biker crossing a beautiful landscape is an image that, for most, conveys the idea of freedom. However, the mechanic who builds and repairs this bike remains perceived as proletarian with dirty hands, a man who is without a doubt dominated in the economies of knowledge. How did this generalized devaluation of manual labour create the image of a man in his garage as a prisoner of his own intellectual and financial misery? We can often recall hearing this saying at school: “if you don’t work you’ll end up a mechanic”. As if our good report cards would forever prevent us from becoming poor and stupid.
However, recently, the media has taken a liking to this new wave of handymen who seem to have deliberately chosen their track: from vintage motorcycle customizers to bakers, the fact that they are good with their hands hasn’t been a cause for lack of respect. It’s actually quite the opposite.
Often it’s white-collar workers who no longer find meaning in the contemporary working world. They have rediscovered the virtues of “savoir-faire”, the pleasure of building something tangible by seizing control of a method of production fit for their level and, above all, the satisfaction of understanding what they are doing. So, while the contemporary working world renders the act of “working” obscure by relentlessly continuing to separate the conception from the carrying out and the doing from the thinking, these new craftsmen see in the art of mechanics a way of finding a grip on reality. And, if we look at it closely we can see that there’s a lot more to it than it seems.
Amongst these bikers/craftsmen are those who walk the path to becoming a sensei. They seek perfection in their art without any financial rationality. Their lives are dedicated to this priesthood of seeking perfection; and of going against most things by achieving a certain generosity in their work. Others are, above all, interested in travelling on the machines they’ve created, giving a soul to their motorcycles by redesigning them to fit their own images. But all of them, as craftsmen, gain an honest satisfaction from both the actual physical and practical side and the marvel of the person for whom the machine is meant to be for.
Even if they all demonstrate the same kind of enthusiasm, they remain individualistic in their approach to work. Building a motorcycle is an affirmation of your personality. But, at some point, comes the need to share. Where it be on a road-trip, at a race or at a festival, there is always a sense of community, a “band of brothers”, that involves the enjoyment of being together. There is, in this crude world of mechanics and bikers, a need and desire that reveals an original outlook on work and pleasure, on the group and the individual, on the present and the past. Like surfers, bikers are dedicated to an authentic lifestyle and pure freedom while remaining in connection with the beauty of nature. It makes you wonder if they don’t have in their garage all the tools to build a happy life."
Help them out on Kickstarter