The Cheap Skates project was a month long project in which teams of 8 were assigned a location within London and asked to observe, understand and eventually intervene to create an outcome that reflects the space. My team were given a skate park within Victoria Park in North East London.
After a few weeks of observation and attempts to use the space for its intended use we began to realise that learning to skate with enough confidence to take on the half pipes and bowls that made up the majority of the skate park was something none of us would be able to do within the given time. Because of this we began to consider how we could modify the space to at least simulate the experience of skating for ourselves. This lead me to start experimenting with rigs that would allow for a person to feel like they were riding the edge of a pipe or skating around a bowl.
This video demonstrates the set up for the rig used.
Alongside this the group had begun to talk to some of the regular skaters that we had met at the park. What became clear to us as outsiders was the importance of capturing the tricks you can achieve, uploading them onto social media and trying to show the rest of the global skate community what you can do.
What came of these two veins of thoughts were the ‘Cheap Skates’, a group dedicated to rapidly setting up scenarios in which a person who has never skated before can take away an image that makes it seem as though they have developed the skill to achieve complex tricks that would usually take months to master. Once these images are captured they are yours to do with as you wish, but what became interesting was the number of people who posted them online and shared the project.
I see this project as a success but I recognise that these are the foundations for a much larger project to take place. It had the potential to go much further had we more time and greater resources to expand it beyond one experience in one skate park.