from Aberdeen Street Skaters’ Manifesto
Photo documentation: ’Skate stopper’ at Aberdeen City Council House, Autumn 2003
Aberdeen Street Skaters logo, 2003
Aberdeen Street Skaters, board of management, weekly meeting, Autumn 2003
Photo documentation: ’A.S.S. Reclaiming the streets’, public event, May 21 2004
Installation view: ’A.S.S. Showing Off!’, exhibition at Peacock Visual Arts, July 2004
Aberdeen Street Skaters ’Public Natter’ at Peacock Visual Arts, July 2004
Crap at Art, art-zine, published July 2004
September 2003: Broad Street, a favourite skate spot in Aberdeen, was ’skate stopped’ by the city council. No public consultation had taken place. One day on the street Eva Merz met with a group of young skateboarders. They decided to investigate the decision-making behind the skate stoppers.
They started by interviewing a local councilor; he suggested they should form an organisation, so they would be taken seriously in their inquiries, and so ’Aberdeen Street Skaters’ – an unincorporated association was formed. They had many meetings and continued the investigations by writing letters and interviewing council officials.
A.S.S. was invited to be part of a so-called ’skate park working group’ and participated in council meetings at the Town House. A big indoor skate park was discussed, but meanwhile the skaters needed something else. The council put money towards a smaller concrete facility in Westburn Park. A.S.S. teamed up with an older skater and skate park designer, Andy Dobson. Together they designed the facility, which was built and finished in October 2003.
Aberdeen Street Skaters was all about promoting street skating; even though a skate park was build there will always be skaters exploring the city and its architecture by skating in public spaces. A.S.S. also emphasized the importance of skateboarders' responsibility when skating in public.
The action 'Reclaiming the streets' was a one-day event where A.S.S. members went around town, mounting a real-size street sign in different spots, skating, filming, speaking to people and signing up new members. The local press covered the event - the action worked.
Aberdeen Street Skaters became a great success. The art exhibition ’A.S.S. Showing off!’ at Peacock Visual Arts, July 2004, made the gallery into a buzzing meeting place and installation with skateboarding videos, art work, decks, special designed t-shirts, texts, documents and photographs. A filmscreening, the world premier of the now famous skateboarding film ’H’Min Bam’ by Alex Craig and launch of the art zine ’CRAP AT ART’.
Aberdeen Street Skaters was the first formal organisation of skateboarders in Aberdeen. The year-long project finished with a public discussion event, which included skaters and their parents, as well as politicians, business people and pro skaters, all with the aim of setting up a new indoors skate park facility for Aberdeen. This meeting was the starting point for the building of Transition Extreme, a modern social entreprise for urban sports which opened its doors in 2007. The rest is history.
Project by Eva Merz in collaboration with Aberdeen street skaters
More information about this project: www.newsocialartschool.org - A.S.S.