Adam Jahnke: Santa Barbara’s Department for Applied Geography
On view from July 6 - July 17, 2022
MCASB is proud to present Santa Barbara’s Department for Applied Geography, an exhibition by Adam Jahnke in the MCASB Community Classroom.
Through a reimagining of my bicycle experience within Southern California, I have become interested in creating artworks that reflect and promote the bicycle as an avatar for art and life. In addition, the bicycle also serves as a necessary utility within an ideological framework that challenges car-centric assumptions within urban and suburban settings.
This experience and framework are what I refer to as the Department Of Applied Geography (DOAG) - a broader project that understands what I create as a response to research about the historical and spiritual implications of natural and man-made landscapes in Southern California.
Within this exhibition, DOAG provides the opportunity to explore the bicycle as I see it - a life art practice. The bicycle, its components, and its maintenance provide a low-cost opportunity for me to meditate through tinkering as well as explore repair as a radical act of autonomy. DOAG further understands that experience between the human and their bicycle as meditative and a methodology for individual liberation.
I possess both an avocational and professional relationship with the bicycle. As a result, I often find ideas for my creations through knowledge acquired from the kinetic joy provided through trial and error.
Antithetical to most of Southern California and the vast majority of the United States, the city of Santa Barbara California is somewhat of a cycling mecca. Not so much for cycling infrastructure but for the various people, terrains, and neighborhoods that have forged cycling alliances, groups, gatherings, and history.
This collection of video work, photography, literature, and sculpture as well as the broader scope of DOAG is a result of my participation in Santa Barbara’s natural ecology, bicycles, and people.
The exhibition is about bikes but not about bikes.
Camino Cielo Bench
Included within Jahnke's installation is the Camino Cielo Bench. The bench encourages visitors to interact with the installation to fix or repair their own bicycle. After signing a liability waiver, visitors are welcome to use all the tools provided. Should one need assistance, or have bicycle-related questions, support is available from the Associated Students Bicycle Shop located in the middle of the UCSB campus. By using the QR code included within the installation visitors can be directly connected to a professional mechanic supervised by Jahnke.
Since 1975 the AS Bicycle Shop has been training and employing UCSB students as bicycle mechanics. The shop is popular amongst the campus community for their affordable repair service and DIY instruction. The shop is also popular amongst the students who work there; income, scheduling flexibility, and a supplemental campus experience often appeal to UCSB’s seasonal student culture. Beyond the immediate campus community, the AS Bicycle Shop also serves our general community. Customers do not need to be a UCSB student to utilize our services.
About Adam Jahnke
Adam Jahnke is a multimedia artist who lives and works in Santa Barbara, California. Originally from San Diego, Adam relocated to Santa Barbara shortly after the completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2011 from California State University Channel Islands. Adam’s move to Santa Barbara was prompted by his involvement with South Coast art and transportation organizations. As a result, Adam’s work explores cultural narratives about Southern California’s culture, geography, transit, and labor. Adam furthers this research through his professional capacity as both the Coordinator of a not-for-profit bicycle shop on UCSB’s campus and Lecturer within UCSB’s Art Department where he and students explore Applied Geography - an art practice that seeks to research and respond to the cultural and spiritual implications of both natural and man-made landscapes in Southern California.