Installation May – June 2016
Electric Pedals is about communication. It’s about connecting people together, whether through outdoor entertainment or classroom education, the focus is on community. Electric Pedals’ on-going collaboration with organisations such as the Free Film Festival (www.freefilmfestivals.org) has enabled people to join together to watch, enjoy and power their cinema experience by becoming the batteries that generate the electricity to run their entertainment – bicycle-powered cinema.
Electric Pedals (www.electricpedals.com) was founded by Colin Tonks over seven years ago as a way of harnessing human power to generate energy from cycling. Since then, the possibilities of where bicycle power can lead us have radically grown and Electric Pedals has become the forefront of bicycle power innovation.
As Jacqui Shimidzu, Community Volunteer and Founder of NXDFFF explains, ‘we could have just had a generator powering this outdoor performance, but Electric Pedals brings added value. People don’t quite believe that cinema can be completely powered by themselves; it’s a spectacle.’ Dynamic and communal, active participation transforms cinema into an curious and unpredictable performance where escapism becomes a team-effort – a shared experience – rather than the solitariness of a dark auditorium.
Relying solely on constant, real-time pedal power throughout the screening means that when the human batteries stop pedalling, the films stop reeling. But all it takes is the audience’s encouragement and some cheers of appreciation for the cyclists, to bring the screen and sound back into action.
This series of photographs by Tonks, documents the spirit of Electric Pedals and the energy of the people it has gathered. A world away from their home in South East London, Electric Pedals has travelled to Africa, South America and all over Europe using bicycle-powered cinema to bring communities together in just the same way.
Film brings every community together to have fun and be inspired. Whether here in the UK or in the depths of rural Africa, where technology is minimal, Electric Pedals is pedalling the dynamic future of community cinema and beyond.
Some other screenings by Electric Pedals:
Partner: Nunhead and Peckham Free Film Festival
Screening Date: 7th September 2013
Film: Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Horniman Museum and Gardens
Partner: Mash Cinema
Screening Date: 21st August 2014
Film: The Journeys of George Méliès (1902)
Partner: Efecto Cine
Screening Date: 6th December 2014
Film: Aftershock (2012)
Partner: Newcross and Deptford Free Film Festival
Screening Date: 2nd May 2015
Film: Wizard of Oz (1939)
Kabami Primary School, Kisoro, Uganda
Partner: Great Ape Film Initiative (GAFI)
Screening Date: 8th December 2010
Film: BBC Cousins, Apes (2000)
Back in 2009, in association with The Great Apes Film Initiative (www.gafi4apes.org), Tonks engineered a basic pedal-powered cinema for a hilltop village on the edge of Mgahinga National Park, Uganda. Consisting of just two mountain bikes that wheeled into bicycle generators and powered a projector and guitar amp sound system. This conservation project needed to bring greater awareness to the local communities of the endangered mountain gorillas that lived alongside them. Through Electric Pedals’ sustainable, lightweight and eco-friendly innovation, even the most remote villages could be educated and entertained through film. Isolated from mainstream communication, the bikes brought knowledge to them and for most, bicycle-powered cinema was their first experience of film.
Partners: Purple Field Productions / TEMWA
Screening Date: 6th June 2013
Film: Trees and Stoves, Farming Our Wealth (2012)
Electric Pedals developed a pedal-powered cinema backpack kit trialled in Malawi. Malawi is 80% rural, and so while film is recognised as a powerful social tool, it is only applicable if it can reach (be carried to) the inaccessible communities. Being able to cross rivers and walk long distances through dense undergrowth, Electric Pedals provided a portable answer with their 20kg backpack cinema. Simple, the effect cannot be understated. The backpack kit brought the outside world to some of the most far-removed places, installing aspirations, stirring debates and igniting ideas through the luxury of film.
Razzle Dazzle, Transparency & Collaborative Patchwork at the Hill station ran during May to August 2013. Alma Titchler Wood & Sara Willet created a site specific camouflage to hide the grand piano, Tisna Weterhof and Cristiana Bottigella engaged with young people’s patches in New Cross, while the very delicate work of Karin Hanlon colours the outside view.
Opening Event on Friday 31st of May 7 pm with Live Music Performances by John Lunn and John Wood.
Local artists Angela McMahon and Stuart Leeser have created the art installation at The Hill Station Cafe. With a private view on Friday 29 November 2013 the exhibition closed on Monday 6 January 2014. The private view event runs from 6pm until 9pm, it was open to all, including children, and will have music, a bar and hot food.
Inspired by trees as the breath of the planet and a magnificent feature of Telegraph Hill, Angela and Stuart have recycled cardboard to create TREECYCLE, a large tree installation made specifically for the Hill Station. With branches stretching out across the ceiling creating an immersive experience the work uses a playful approach to celebrate trees and wood as an essential part of life on earth. We use wood every day, often without thinking, as furniture, fuel, paper, books, cardboard and packaging and ancient trees formed the fossil fuels we use to power the modern world. They are also seen as nurturing, mythical or magical. Viewers are invited to write messages on paper leaves that will be attached to the tree. These will be recorded as part of the work. At the end of the show the tree and leaves were recycled.
Angela McMahon 07977 901147
The current installation at the Hill station ran from 18th March to 3rd of May 2014. It was a food related art installations and series of performances that examined our obsession with food and looked at our peculiar quirks that embellish the act of eating. The installation created by Art Tarts, a group of local artists who collaborate in bringing the unexpected, surreal and poetic to public spaces. They will explored how food is used as a central theme from which to delve deeper into a range of topics from the essential pastime of eating for nourishment to other aspects of the culinary such as food preparation, food fads, fetishes, phobias, ethics, rituals and traditions. check out the Art Tarts Facebook page for more pics
Underhillians is a collaborative artwork around the walls of the Hill Station, depicting the amazing world of mysterious dwellers beneath Telegraph Hill.
We gathered together some local artists – so in total we were Bridget McKenzie, Gill Roth, Andrew Clarke, Ahava Fridel, Brian McKenzie, Janet Currier and Dylan Currier. We wanted to do something to explore the life that goes on in the soil, including the ‘hidden internet’ of fungi that helps plants communicate and resist disease, because it is International Year of Soil. However, more importantly we wanted to know what other people imagined, and use that as a starting point.
We invited the local community to send us drawings of the creatures they imagined living beneath the Hill. We asked them to imagine connecting tunnels and chambers, or places like the skate-park and schools, and different ways of living, working and having fun. We received masses of drawings, and especially lots of beautiful ones from children at Haberdashers Askes Hatcham Free School. These were used to inspire our painting, showing the world both above and beneath our feet, over several evenings throughout the summer.