Inspired by the adventures of Grace…

Jude Thomas, of Lines of Desire, describes their recent Swan Pedalo inspired production in the North East:

Inspired by the adventures of Grace…
…was a recent commission realised for Enchanted Parks 2012 (an innovative after-dark arts experience which annually transforms Gateshead’s Saltwell Park into a magical night-time winter wonderland). Dive-in movie was a twist on the 1950s style Drive-in. The Lines of Desire arts collective created an outdoor cinema, consisting of movie screen, projection booth, concession stand and a theatre area where visitors could view the movie from the privacy and comfort of, not parked cars but swan pedalos (which were woken from their Saltwell Park winter nest).

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Swan Pedalo Broadcasts

Friday 5th and Saturday 6th of August artists Dave Lynch and John O’Shea are broadcasting live online and in Barrow Park at Full of Noises Festival 2011 at Barrow in Furness.

The beautiful Open Source Swan Pedalo – “Grace” – has been modified through the addition of a special broadcasting unit and we have a whole schedule of shows running live between 1pm and 5pm each day.

Through the wonders of the world wide web you can listen online – live!

For online listeners copy the link below -

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open using VLC player (file –> open network)

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Schedule for two days as follows:

Friday 5th

1pm: Station View Songs

2pm: Mayor of Barrow

2.30pm: Underwater Sound Intervention

3pm – 5pm – FON Festival artists on air!

Saturday 6th

1pm: Introduction by Dave Lych and John O’Shea

1.15pm: Hidden Gems of the Barrow Art Scene (presented by councilor Helen Wall and Bob Dickinson from Radio 4)

2pm: Optimistic Sound Intervention

2.30pm: Antye – poetry

3pm: Barrow Sounds – opens with David on laptop

3.30pm:  Ryoko Akama

4pm: Simon Jones

4.20pm: Fern of Octopus

4.40pm: Slim Pro 6 and the Bobettes

5.30pm: Performance by Tetsuo Kogawa


We were on Radio Cumbria this morning! Find us and listen again!

We are still looking for artists and performers from Barrow to get involved tomorrow – we have empty slots between 3 and 5pm – if you are interested in getting involved add a comment on this page with a contact email or send a message via twitter @swanpedalo.

To give a flavour of what is possible here is a video of some fine Leeds Owls who came out to play on the Open Source Swan Pedalo’s visit to Leeds.

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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.)

Testing the Water!

Finally – we dreamt that this day would come – our opportunity has arrived to get our Open Source Swan Pedalo out onto the water!

This great news is in no small part thanks to the efforts of Simon of who got in touch with us right at the beginning to offer a mutually beneficial chance for the swan to get its feet wet.  If all goes to plan then the Open Source Swan Pedalo will be on the water for testing near the Albert Dock during Saturday and Sunday this weekend and then it will be available to the fee-paying public of Liverpool as an enjoyable and leisurely resource for two weeks after that (which includes the Royal Wedding day!)

The basic schedule is as follows:

(tonight) Friday evening 6.30pm: meeting with Simon at basecamp (Andy’s workshop) to inspect the Swan for any damage etc. and discuss the day and arrangements – then off for a sneaky pint at Kavanaghs.  If anyone wants to come along and needs a lift I can pick you up – all welcome.

Saturday morning 9am: Swan is being collected by a Man with Van (who was sourced via twitter!) and driven down to the Albert Dock – this is an all hands on deck operation.  Again – I can pick people up if need be.  Ideally we will have 6 people to lift the swan onto (and off of) the boxvan.  It would be good also if we could video this voyage.

(Our Swan will be entering the water near to where the Duckmarine goes.)

Saturday afternoon:
Sam is co-ordinating this – but the intention is that various musicians will be doing short acoustic renditions of their own songs from the Swan and we hope to share this within Liverpool Music Unconference as an alternative model for music distribution.

Sunday: (possibility for more testing – or perhaps free rides for the art-going public?)

Then: 2 weeks of Open Source Swan Pedalo operational on Albert Dock as leisure vessel for public to enjoy.

  • The Open Source Swan Pedalo will remain on the water until the end beginning of May operating as part of Simons Wowball venture – there will be a charge of £5 for 10 minutes for an adult + their children (which is pretty fair considering this is the same fee as for a single child in the wow balls)
  • Simon is only looking to recoup his costs and any surplus will go back into Swan funds for the benefit of future projects

During the 2 weeks that the Swan is operational on the water it would be desirable if people could sign up to volunteer for one half day to be on hand and support Simon’s lifeguards in operating the Swan.  This is not essential but it will mean that we have a team of people with documented experience of working with the swan – we might even do some special badges!
Fri 29th April: the Swan will be on the water for the Royal Wedding!  Any ideas how to mark this? Portraits? Bunting? A battered swan banquet?

Tues May 3rd: Open Source Swan Pedalo will leave the water

So -

Any questions?  Any suggestions?


PS: I decided against posting this news yesterday since the 14th of April is the anniversary of the sinking of Titanic.

Projecting on a Swan

Last week as part of the Long Night, I offered people the chance to ‘skin the swan’, by giving it a new look. Using just a projector, photoshop, and a wacom tablet, people were able to project their illustrations and ideas onto the swan pedalo.

Below are some of the illustrations created and how they looked once upon a swan. (note: by this time, the swan had spent a couple of days in the Hack Space and had aquired some LED eyes!)