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In Performance

In Performance: Project 929 – Artist Draws 460 Mile Line for Energy Sustainability

In Performance: Project 929 – Artist Draws 460 Mile Line for Energy Sustainability

Project 929: Mapping the Solar
Augmented Bike Ride as Performative Intervention

Photo by Laurie Macfee

Photo by Laurie Macfee

Last week, media artist/activist Joseph DeLappe physically and symbolically drew a line around the Nevada Test Site, Yucca Mountain, Nellis Air Force Range, and Area 51, creating a 460 mile long chalk drawing. Riding a long-tail bicycle, which he reconfigured with an armature to hold handmade chalk, solar panels, video cameras, and a GPS unit, DeLappe delineated a geographical area equal to the measurement of a solar farm the Union of Concerned Scientists estimated would be “more than enough to meet the country’s entire energy demand,” or 100 square miles.  http://www.livescience.com/3115-energy-debates-solar-farms.html

In a durational/endurance performance, DeLappe rode the bike approximately 50 miles per day for 9 days in the desert above Las Vegas, NV, dragging the chalk behind him on the road and encircling the federally confiscated lands that are the largest peacetime military base in the world: area of 928 nuclear tests; testing of the U-2, stealth, and drone aircraft; and continued testing ground for bombs, training area for the US military, and site of weapon/technology and energy development.  During the 460 mile ride, DeLappe had to stop to change chalk approximately every two miles, enduring 8-11 hour days on the bike in upwards of 95 F degree heat or 40 mph desert winds.

Conceptually, “Project 929: Mapping the Solar” is an ideational and activist exercise towards representing another possible choice we could make as a nation, physically re-imagining geographical space for energy sustainability.  To map this desire – become a moving point, line of battle or communication, contour of an idea, measure or guide – was a driving principle.

Documentation:

The performance utilized mixed-reality (Blue Mars Lite), GPS technology, and, where feasible, live streaming video for real-time documentation.  Videos of the live streaming from DeLappe’s bicycle and Blue Mars: http://project929.tumblr.com/livestreaming

The project was also documented by artist and writer Laurie Macfee, creating an archive of photographs, and off-bike video.  I. Examples can be found on the blog: http://www.project929.com  A short video documentary can be found here: https://vimeo.com/67681957

In collaboration with Manifest AR, selected photographs will be used post-project to create a locative media tour using augmented reality to permanently document the ride.  Anyone with a smart phone or tablet will be able to visualize gigantic solar farms spreading across the empty desert, tied to precise GPS located images of DeLappe on his ride.

Project Stats:
•460 miles•Average 51 miles per 9 days of riding
•246 pieces of chalk
•Average of 292 pedal strokes per mile = 134,320 pedal strokes for entire ride.
•7-8 hours per day on the bike.
•80-90 bottles of Gatorade (average eight to ten,  20 oz. bike bottles per day for 9 days)
•5 tubes of sunscreen
•One pair of padded bike shorts (washed daily)
•One very patient spouse, support vehicle driver and photographer

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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.

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