Media: 3 custom audio bicycle systems, various media
Dimensions: each unit W:4’ L:12’ H:6’
PED is a collective that makes participatory art projects that operate in public space. Each project is created specifically for the varying location and situation, and is simultaneously a pseudo service bureau and an info/excer-tainment outlet from which visitors/participants may embark on free, talking-bicycle ‘lecture’ tours. In some PED projects, each bicycle is outfitted with a pedal-activated audio system (i.e. as the participant pedals, they hear the lecture, and when they stop the lecture ceases), while in others, the audio is transmitted via electronic communications devices such as walkie-talkies. The series expands the parameters of performance by both invisibly performing a service bureau and orchestrating viewers to unwittingly perform as they conspicuously ride through the city on the talking-bicycles, disseminating information by broadcasting the lectures.
Each site-specific instance of PED provides a different menu of thematic tours, each with specific routes to follow. The content of each of the PED lecture tours is cultivated through intense research on the local. histories, and is based on a recontextualization of the varying cities’ projected images contrasted with their quotidian activities. Much of the marketing of a city depends on creating a pre-digested, unified image and reifying stereotypes. Conversely, the projects explore the diverse subjective vantages within the living city through an analysis of what should be seen/hidden, experienced/forbidden, known/forgotten, celebrated/mourned.
Although the first bicycles were intended for the amusement of the upper classes, they have come in the last century to represent populist and non-conformist aims. The PED bicycles occupy utopian territory as a viable form of public communication and democratic address.
PED projects have taken place in the U.S.A., Northern Ireland, Canada, China and Brazil. Previous PED projects include PED.Buffalo (2001), PED.Belfast (2002), PED.Tonawandas (2003), PED.Hamilton (2003), PED.Chongqing (2006), PED.Rio (2007), PED.St John’s (2008), PED.Toronto (2016).
PED.Chongqing presented collective teams riding custom audio bicycle systems (built from locally salvaged bicycle parts) that pulled carts and powered hacked megaphones. These human-driven six-wheeled public address vehicles broadcast pedal-activated audio on a large scale via karaoke-inspired lectures, spreading critical information and loaded entertainment in a new/ancient society. The three tours included:
1. The Long, Long Virtuous Path to Sunshine Vehicle
2. The Twin Stacks of Supreme Happiness Vehicle
3. The Vehicle for Ten Thousand Fertile Scholars’ Star Rated Market Approved Big Shiny Hot Pot for the Benevolent Ghosts from the Immortal Mountains of the Healthy Valley of Plenty.
PED.Chongqing was completed by an expanded team that included 38 students of the Sichuan
Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China.