Swarm & Destroy: The Revolution Will Have Pedals
By mila zuo & lazlo kovaks
The Hell’s Angles have called them the “gayest moped gang in the world,” and “the baddest club since themselves,” but the Creatures of the Loin insist that they are no club. They are a collective of quixotic visionaries living out existential mad max fantasies on marginalized motor vehicles in the “directly lived moment.”
“Why do I ride a moped? Because our world is on the brink of economic and social collapse. Let’s call it an apocalypse—I’m not saying it’s the Four Horsemen, I’m not talking about the Rapture, there’s no Jesus involved – but Jesus would ride a moped…. The currency of the country is floating on nothing, but on a moped, you can escape… pour in some 2-stroke oil, and you can dart through the rubble and do whatever the fuck you want. ” explains 23-year-old Creature, Jay Jean-Hank Ho.
And the core of the group share Jay’s catastrophic world-view. In their hearts and minds these ex-gas huffers, loser eccentrics, outsider artists, power rangers, hippy bums, vagabond photographers, new-wave filmmakers, beat dream writers, mushroomed musicians, and Loin scum misfits are bound together by a sublimely idiotic destiny – redemption through mopeds.
Founded by transcontinental cyclists and photographers benjamin broad and graham french, the Creatures of the Loin emerged as an illogical conclusion to a desire for self-sufficiency. Moped riders pride themselves on being independent. Since most of the COtLs mopeds were manufactured in the 1970s, repair has become a do-it-yourself post-industrial folk art form, passed down from experienced tinkers or gleaned from aged manuals. “One day we’ll find a way to make our mopeds run on alternative energies. I read recently that there are some new types of, hmm, was it batteries, that can run on urine, I would love to pee in my gas tank and take off into the night, across the lands never to be seen again,” proclaimed itinerant benjamin.
Graham and another Creature, Lee Lil Buddy Levenberg, have recently embarked upon an ambitious, if not foolish, expedition to the southernmost tip of South America. With a record-breaking 6-month 26,000 mile trip on Puch mopeds ahead of them, their return is uncertain. Luck, fate, no more than 25 pairs of socks, a few spare parts, and a video camera will guide them to Tierra del Fuego and back. Before leaving, Graham enthused, “Destination is prime, but all the stuff in between is the real good stuff.”
Conceptual artist, Erik Seidenglanz, aka the Creatures’ “Minister of (Dis)Information,” believes that mopeds are an overlooked incarnation of the Dymaxion Revolution, R. Buckminster Fuller’s utopian philosophy of the getting the most out of the least. “Benjamin has helped me retrieve a moped from my subconscious. The moped that he helped me build is powered by the perpetual motion of my mind. I think he must be my guardian angel. When I ride I’m happier…. As Creatures we are able to play in the best playground of all, Hitchcock land-San Francisco. Soon we will have an all-weekend- you can’t go home inner-city-camp-out in John Mclarren Park. Evey four months Creatures will send two members touring long distances to claim more territory and document their endeavors, next is East Asia and the German Austrian Border.”
The Creatures’ commitment to mopeds verges on the absurd. Investing one’s life with unbridled fervor in something as inadequate as a moped is a subtle, personal type of anti-hegemony, a refusal of reality, a rejection of traditional hierarchies. It is a means to transcend the boredom of everyday life that allows the Creatures of the Loin to experience life with or with out intention. As Erik explains, “you perceive multiple experiences simultaneously through your moped. Time is elastic. The city is the Internet. With this moped, I’m able to truly access the city in drift. Like Bucky said, ‘we are all astronauts on spaceship earth.’ What’s your ride?”