The new breakdancingMarch 19, 2009
At first it was thrilling. It’s like buff French guys took the final confrontation of Blade Runner and ran with it. Really ran with it.
Foot chase scenes, stuntsmanship, modern dance, gymnastics—all mashed-up in the urban hardscape of fences, roofs, walls, bollards, any city feature. Parkour. It made for good watching: Banlieue 13, Casino Royale, Nike ads.
It went on. The success of Casino Royale seemingly obligated the Fleming/Broccoli franchise to repeat it in Quantum of Solace. And of course there is instruction for you and for me: “The Outdoor Classes guide you in applying the movements of parkour to the urban terrain, and encourage creativity and mental focus.”
Yet I never saw it out there in real life. Wondered what kind of audience experience that would be like: the city staged as stagey obstacle course. But wait, it’s not a spectator sport, it’s a *sport. Or a discipline. At least, free running. Or a way for fast people to subvert theory and really *experience architecture.
And then Geoff kind of killed it outright:
“Parkour is the new breakdancing. Over-theorizing it as a kind of subaltern use of the city will look ridiculous in 10 years.”