Wednesday 10 February 2010

Cyclorama - Community Gateway for Preston

Ian Banks of Atoll is currently planning something both linked to a public art programme called Cyclorama, a piece of work he has been developing for Preston CC and the once-in-every-20-years Preston Guild; and linking with the arts and sports brief of Blazing a Trail / Flights of Freedom project - itself part of the 2012 Culural Olympaid. The proposal is for a mobile guerrilla lighting project that interacts with the youth and community at various locations along Preston river front, involving lighting artists Studio Dekka along with both BMX'ers Preston Pirates and the Brookfield's Soundskills and Alison impressive media and community art programmes.

The thinking behind this proposal was to develop place-specific associations between artists and community, but to physically root these through temporary artist ‘residencies’ within various places of community focus around the city. As such, the large number of Preston parks circling the city core (with their ambitious environmental Green Flag credentials, and full-time Ranger service), were deemed to fit the bill in providing a series of both host sites and communities. In addition, the added focus (and running-down of the clock) due to the 2012 Preston Guild was seen to be an important event to focus everything towards – or at least to provide an interim target to aim for.

As such, Cyclorama covers an orbit of around 15 miles and offers-up a mixture of public footpaths and secondary roads that inter-connect the Preston’s 7 parks, Lancaster Canal, Preston Docks and the River Ribble. Along that route, it is suggested that up to 20 public art gateway projects (of various scales, artform types and degrees of permanence) would be delivered over a 4 year period, building up to the Guild. Beyond 2012, it is anticipated the programme would continue – perhaps moving towards more permanent and iconic projects. It is anticipated the cycleway done in one go with few stops would take around 3 hours to cycle at a moderate pace.

Cyclorama looks in time to create various 'community gateways' via public art installations and initiatives at key nodes, and is currently picked up as part of the city public art gateway strategy (developed by Atoll). As such, this first installation/event would be interactive with a BMX/cycling based lighting and media event linking mobile installations of 'guerrilla lighting' to create an exciting joint tourism and local event, and to raise awareness and engage community. Part of the Cyclorama route links to the city BMX and skateboard track at Fishwick Recreation Ground already, and because of this, Cyclorama have established a link to Preston Pirates BMX club, based there. Future links would also be explored with Preston Wheelers cycle club and the planned Guild Wheel cycleway. The project has support of Phil Walsh of Preston CC and Neil Harris of Lancashire CC.

The plan is that Cyclorama will become linked to both the Cultural Olympiad and Preston Guild, and as such, these initial temporary 'installations' planned in Spring would also link to a parallel Preston Soundskills Blazing a Trail / Flights of Freedom project, via the wider 'Blazing a Trail' programme. The young producers leading on this commission alongside Chris Davis of Soundskills, as well as Preston Pirates, can collaborate equally alongside Studio Dekka to feed into the concept and to provide overlapping strands of web, music, photography, video and graphic design (as an example).

For this installation event, we would be looking to create a dusk-time moveable event along the river front, linking light installations, media & soundscapes and BMX ‘happenings’ at Fishwick Recreation Ground and Avenham Pavilion, and places in between. We are currently planning for the possibility of a 1 day installation on one of two possible weekends - that is 12th ,13th or 14 April (approx 19.10 sunset time); and/or the May bank holiday weekend 1st, 2nd or 3rd May (approx 19.45 sunset times). These latter dates would clearly fit in with the Culural Olympaid Weekend, if required.

The focus area would be the link between Fishwick Recreation Ground and the Avenham Park / Avenham Pavilion, and intervention of the Studio Dekka guerrilla lighting and Soundskills media would include the Preston Pirates BMX performance as well as illuminate the various bridges and walkways, architecture and trees encountered along the route. Key nodal installations include:

Fishwick Recreation Ground
Preston to Bamber Bridge
Old Tram Bridge
Avenham Park - tree lined avenue
Avenham Pavilion
Underpass between Avenham Park
Avenham Walk / Top Walk