Velocipedia By Gianluca Gimini

WORDS Michaela Stehr IMAGES

Started in 2009 by Bologna-based designer Gianluca Gimini, Velocipedia is a project that tests the human memory and imagination.

Gianluca asked a selection of 376 friends and participants, ranging from the ages of 3 to 88, to draw a regular men’s bicycle without any visual references.

“I would walk up to them with a pen and a sheet of paper asking that they immediately draw me a men’s bicycle, by heart,” explains Gianluca. “Soon I found out that when confronted with this odd request most people have a very hard time remembering exactly how a bike is made. Some did get close, some actually nailed it perfectly, but most ended up drawing something that was pretty far off from a regular men’s bicycle.”

He then took these sketches and converted them into realistic 3D renderings. These digital drawings still hold the omissions and mistakes that were made in the original sketch done by memory, making them impossible to ride as functioning bicycles.

The concept of the test used by Gianluca is a test often used by cognitive psychologists to illustrate how the brain tricks us into thinking we know how an object appears by memory.