Best Guerrilla Activist

Legba Carrefour
Last Sept. 10, Legba Carrefour left the house at 5 a.m. in a borrowed truck filled with 22 junk bikes he and friends had spray-painted white. He strewed them all over Dupont Circle, where 12 days earlier, a “ghost bike” memorial to Alice Swanson, a cyclist killed at 20th and R streets on July 8, 2008, had been removed by the city. By 11 a.m., 16 bikes remained; a week later there were two piles of tangled frames and forks that looked less like a memorial and more like a memento mori. Carrefour was nowhere to be found. “I was going to do more with them,” says Carrefour, “but the G-20 hit in Pittsburgh.” The self-described “D.C. native, cyclist, and anarchist” says he was busy with protests there when the ghost bikes turned into ghost rubbish, but he notes that his bike project “was not supposed to be permanent.…to a certain extent the idea was to have the city come down to rip them off.” Carrefour says his project was as much a public space protest (“I’m European by birth....Like, in Vienna [Austria] where I’m from, people vandalize 1,000-year-old statues on a regular basis”) as a memorial to Swanson, whom he never met. Carrefour says he plans more protests involving bicycles, though “the thing with the bikes,” he says, “depends on me getting a job.”