No idea really just pops into ones head, and the idea for Pedal California was no exception. It took a lot of refinement and research to conceptualize the project. I started with a fragment of an idea that really stemmed from my own un-artistic needs that then evolved into what the project is now. Everything started from a craving to eat a ton of doughnuts (seriously) to which I then told myself “you need to earn those doughnuts by riding your bike really far.”
From my own self-motivation, I quickly adapted cycling into my ongoing exploration of digital environments (virtual reality). I then took motivation and inspiration from endurance art and began to construct a way to combine the two through interaction. My exploration into the realm of endurance art had previously been very narrow. I only knew what was briefly covered in an Art History class. That was enough to at least introduce me to the idea and point me in the right direction.
I started from looking at the really well know performance endurance pieces (which really is the only kind I could find; performance endurance) by Marina Abramović and David Blane. What I noticed early on was, again, everything was based on the endurance of one person as a performance. There is nothing wrong with that, and the performances done by the former artists and like are exceptional. However, I wanted to do something that involved my audience and could transfer the enduring to themselves.
As I looked further, I remembered a piece by Joseph Delappe The Salt Satyagraha Online: Gandhi’s March to Dandi in Second Life,2008 in which Delappe used a treadmill to do a virtual endurance recreation of Gandhi’s March to Dandi. This started to hit really close to what I was looking to do, except I wanted to be able to give my audience a chance to get on/ into my art. This has led me to develop my interactive endurance art; which will require the audience to be the endurers, collectively.
I want the gallery experience to be a recreation of something real, so that the audience gets a one-to-one feeling of being in someone’s (my) shoes. For this reason, I absolutely needed to do the ride myself and record the route while I performed it. The alterative of using a motored vehicle to capture the route really never was an option.
There are other projects that I came across that allowed users to interactively traverse a virtual recreation of reality, the most popular being Google Street view. Before Google Street view even there were projects like The Aspen Movie Project That gave users the chance to move through virtual reality that was recorded from a motored vehicle.
Pedal California exists somewhere in-between a performance endurance piece, a second life endurance performance, and a Google Street View traversal. I hope to you (like it is to me) that the idea of a interactive & collective endurance piece is interesting and maybe a little ground breaking.