Bristol cyclists can experience cycling as an art form

Rider Spoke on at outdoor arts fest until Sunday

by Kevin Emery   September 23, 2009  

rider spoke.jpg

Something different when it comes to cycling is currently on at the Arnolfini arts centre as part of The Bristol Do 2009 Festival this week. Rider Spoke is a work for cyclists by award-winning artists company Blast Theory and is a Cycling City project which will give Bristol the opportunity of experiencing cycling as an art form.

The audience is invited to cycle through the streets of the city seeking out unusual and secretive hiding spots to reveal their innermost thoughts. Seven people set off every 15 minutes, either on their own bike or on one provided.

The audience head out into the streets with a handheld computer mounted on the handlebars, and earpiece in one ear. The rider listens to a series of questions and is invited to look for an appropriate hiding place to record answers.

The screen of the device acts primarily as a positioning system, using wi-fi technology to show where the rider may hide a question and where previous riders have hidden their questions.

Rider Spoke blurs the distinction between theatre and game play and encourages participants to become co-authors of the piece. Blast Theory combines theatre with state-of-the-art computer technology and is part of the phenomenon known as pervasive gaming, a radical new form extending gaming into the physical world, the best-known example of which is geocaching. Blast Theory explores how games and cutting-edge technology create new social spaces.

Following critical acclaim through its participation in Linz 2009 European Capital of Culture, four times BAFTA nominated, Brighton-based Blast Theory is one of the most adventurous companies experimenting with performance in the digital age and has ten years experience presenting work on the streets around the world.

The company is led by artists Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj and uses interactive media to create games, installations and performances.

Since its premiere in 2007, Rider Spoke been presented in Athens, Brighton Festival, Budapest Autumn Festival, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art and Adelaide Film Festival.

Rider Spoke runs at Arnolfini until September 27 from 4pm – 7.30pm, tickets are £4 and cyclists depart every 15 minutes, and each ride is duration 75 minutes.

Tickets are available from Arnolfini on 0117 917 2300/01 or www.arnolfini.org.uk.
The event is suitable for ages 16 +, with limited bicycles provided, and those that are available are unsuitable for anyone under 5.2 ft. Participants are therefore advised to bring their own bicycles to avoid disappointment.