Society of Swandeliers #2

Meet-up scheduled for Thursday 7th July 2011 @ 8.30pm

  • Swan Trip to Leeds: Well Done!
  • Swan Funds: Income and Exp.
  • Swan Pedalo Blog – a front page?
  • Society of Swandeliers – badges?
  • Swan Pedalo Merchandise – makernight
  • URL – transferring
  • Swan User Manual Wiki: broadcast module / power to the swan! / tracking
  • Barrow: FON (full of noises festival) what we’re doing
  • Swan Maintenance Day: making / getting it to look really nice – painting
  • Beyond & other opportunities: T4, BBC, Thames etc
  • Calendar
  • Open Source Swan Pedalo Book: Year 1 (Nov 2011)?
  • Any Other Business

Swan pedalo lands in Leeds

On the windy morning of saturday 25th June, the Swan Pedalo landed on the canal at Granary Wharf in Leeds for the Waterfront festival.

After a quick maiden voyage with @davelynch, @lewissleeman and @eoinshea to work out the finer details of the swan songs and other swan related activities we decided to wait on the promise of sunday sunshine before we ventured into the activities.

Our wait was blessed with a scorcher of a day, with Swan tweets commenting on #leedsriveria, it was hot hot hot and you got a swan sweat on after moments of pedaling !

10AM brought the lyrical wisdom of Samuel Foxton Wells for Leeds 1st Swan Song.

The Open Source Swan Pedalo hosts Leeds first swan songs featuring the lyrical wisdom of Samuel Foxton Welles.

Samuel Foxton Welles’s new track is from his upcoming album based on David Lynch’s dark view of middle America in his ground breaking TV series – Twin Peaks. For more information please visit


Due to the hot weather and super chilled day the evening performances were squeezed into a very short 30 minute slot.


6.40 saw  Slimpro6&theBobbettes improvised impromtu water music.  I don’t think anyone could have prepared themselves for the haunting echos of the woodwind and brass melodies emitting from 3 dogs on a swan!



6.50 – 7 was a exercise in the right to rant by Stephen Emmerson & Chris Stephenson who are  the resident poets from a regular poetry event called Precession: The Cynics curated by Robert A Sharples. Armed with megaphones and an sublime collection of funny, witty, dark and twisted word couplets that left the audience on the bank in auditory appreciation and laughter.

All in all a good experimentation of what can be done in little time, no budget and some fine weather.  Also a good gauge of how well the public react to art from a swan pedalo.  A comment by Samuel Foxton Welles early in the day kinda sums it all up:

‘you wouldn’t stare at someone in the street, but somehow a swan pedalo gives people free reign to blatantly watch your every move’

I think people feel drawn to the swan, a phoenix in our society’s great depression, but 98% more likely is the sun brings out the best in people and opens that cultural acceptance for fun and frolics on a giant bird on the water.



Show and Tell at Future Everything

Our Open Source Swan Pedalo is one among 10 projects being presented at Future Everything’s “Show and Tell for Sendai” event, which is taking place at Cornerhouse in Manchester on the 14th of May.

Some info regarding the rest of the line-up is copied here:

Presenters include:

Louise Gardner and Angela Roche (Design by Day); Elliot Woods (Kimchi and Chips); Dave Griffiths (artists, Babel Fiche); John O’Shea (artist, Swan Pedalo), Eddy Rhead (Manchester Modernist Society);  Brendan Dawes (Magnetic North); Jon Grant (Cahoona); Hwa Young Jung (artist & co founder madlab) plus a DVD presentation from WOW agency in Sendai.

It will be great to share our work so far, in getting the Swan afloat, with a new audience – and to meet some very interesting practitioners from across the North West.

Tracking a swan

Hi all just wanted to update you on some tracking ideas and this brilliant site

At various points in our swan’s life Ive liked the idea of always being able to see where the swan is on a handy embeddable google map much like the one used above and I’ve been thinking of cheap and easy ways to do it. With a few

I’m working on a blog project looking at technical celebrations of marine traffic around the coast for bloc in Wales Fishermen Friends inspired by MarineTraffic OldWeather amongst other things and most recently @amcewen ‘s work on @merseyshipping on twitter. Anyway have a look at the Fishermen Friends link.

I’m  planning on organising some kind of tracking mini event soon with our pedalo just to experiment with a GPS device like this maybe initially just around the docks with the aim of getting something we can use in all future activity that might need tracking from a canal trip to Leeds to a channel crossing (gulp). So my bloc project could be a context for prototyping and testing something out. Love the idea that at any time we could see where the Swan was and tag it with what it was up to.

Would be nice to meet tomorrow Thursday 13th May 2011 5pm at STATIC in Liverpool and discuss this and the upcoming light night event and maybe we could hed down to Simon’s test at Wowballs at the docks.

In the meantime do delight in the progress of some real Whooper swans in Iceland above and my last slightly surreal waterbourne project Close Encounters in Poland below. I worked with a local canoeing club (who ended up towing me) and the owner of a spanish galleon (yes really) to sail a cardboard ship attached to a canoe down the canal in central Gdansk Poland for Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art. If only I could have tracked it live… hope to see some of you tomorrow!



Do Open Source Swans Dream of Fibreglass Sheep?

Lots of interesting new things since Swan number one made a nest next to Liverpool Albert Dock – here’s a list of a few:

  • @wimpyking came down and did an interview – straight from the Swans beak!

  • And the loads of people uploaded their photos and videos during our first week where we had a special codeword each day to ride the white swan for free:

(above) photo by @clairelsutton

(Thanks also for twitpics/yfrogs/videos from: @alannolan, @BabaOnos, @p3dro, @onthepennines, @artinliverpool, @minapop & anyone I may have missed.)

‘Fire Moving Slowly’ at Dukes Dock.

On Saturday the 16th of April the Swan Pedalo was set free on Dukes Dock.
We simply asked that he/she/it would let some musicians ride on her back for a few hours.
She carried my band, Elfin Spurs (shown here), Alex Mountaineer & Greedy Jesus amongst others.

This song is called ‘Fire moving slowly’ featuring Sofie Roberts on vocals & Chiz Turnross on Guitar, (I’m on drums).

We had a bit of a technical hitch with Sofies vocals so we had to overdub them, but you get used to that after a while, I like to think it’s a bit Top of the Pops.

More videos will follow.

This was what we did with a turn up and play approach to using the Swan as a platform to make music, what could be done with a bit more preparation?

I’d like to recreate that Pdiddy video in which he rides a jet ski..

Videography by Arek Chrusciel, Sam Meech & John O’Shea, edited by Neil Winterburn.