Street Racing for the Penniless

The homeless guy pushing around a shopping cart full of bottles and cans is so well-entrenched in our imagination that it has become a bit of a stereotype. In cities with large concentrations of marginalized people, however, like Vancouver, they serve as a constant reminder of the dredges of the urban economy. When they are in such an unfortunate position, then, how can they assert themselves and make the city their own?

Carts of Darkness might shed some light on the answer. Former snowboarder and sports filmmaker Murray Siple turns his gaze to bottle-pickers in the suburbs of Vancouver’s North Shore who engage in an exhilarating and potentially lethal pastime: shopping cart racing. “I don’t have any furniture, I have no wife, I have no kids to look after, I got nothing,” says one of the characters in the film, explaining why he gets such a rush from something that could potentially take his life.

What seems particularly interesting about this in the context of urban space and social order is how unbelievably subversive cart racing is. Just imagine — grown men speeding down steep suburban streets in stolen shopping carts. It’s completely at odds with everything they are supposed to do and everything the environment around them tells them to do.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Thursday December 11 2008at 05:12 am , filed under Canada, Society and Culture, Video and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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