Open-Sourcing a Swan Pedalo

John O’Shea’s talk at Ignite Liverpool explains a lot about where the Swan Pedalo is coming from and also a little about where it might be going next.

Of course – the best way to know what’s on the horizon is to follow @swanpedalo on twitter.

Presentation slides are shared below:

Thanks to Pedalo advocate Neil Morrin @defnetmedia for the invitation to speak at the Global Ignite Week Liverpool event. Cheers also to John McKerrell behind the camera on this video and to all the crew behind the scenes who made Social Media in Liverpool Week totally awesome!

Visit the Ignite Liverpool Youtube Channel to see some of the other talks from the evening (which were of a really high standard) – they are linked individually here:

this Weds 7pm @ the Ranch

Ahoy there!

This Wednesday, at our studio in Liverpool, we are hosting a one-off gathering to plot new adventures for the Open Source Swan Pedalo during 2011 – we really hope to see you there!

Time: 7pm
Date: Wednesday 9th February 2011
Location: Ranch Studio, 67-69 Victoria Street, Liverpool, UK, L1 6DL
(Google Map Link)

Suggested topics of discussion:

* Pedalo Principles
* Moving from the impossible to the possible
* Ready-made opportunities for action in the 2011 Calendar
* Can a Swan Pedalo truly be “Open Source”?

All input prior to Wednesday eve is greatly welcomed – over email, via @swanpedalo on twitter and the Open Source Swan Pedalo blog (including potential hosts, mechanical advice, new projects etc.) – we’ll present all of this stuff for everyone to consider on the evening.

All will finish for 9pm when it is suggested we retire to The Swan Inn (or perhaps The Shipping Forecast) for beverages.

*** Society of Swandeliers ***

As promised – a one-off Open Source Swan Pedalo meet-up is confirmed for Wednesday 9th February at 7pm (as part of Liverpool’s week of Social Media festivities) and the gathering will be taking place at The Ranch Studio on Victoria Street in Liverpool City Centre – L1 6DE.

The aim of this meet-up will be to HAVE FUN! generate & consolidate ideas and plan for future Swan Pedalo adventures.

As mentioned previously – if people are coming from out of town we’ll try and make arrangements to put you up – we have a couple of people confirmed from Leeds already…

We are going to gather together all of the current opportunities and suggested projects and develop a strategy for making some of this stuff happen over the course of 2011.

Until then – we salute you!

Pedalo Principles

(the Open Source Swan Pedalo taking a break at Andy’s workshop near Princes Park, Liverpool)

Over the last few weeks some important guiding principles have emerged which we hope will ensure good stewardship of the Open Source Swan Pedalo now that we have overcome the initial challenges of transporting the vessel and building a strong support network:

1.  There is no master plan, instead, the  Open Source Swan Pedalo is contingent, opportunistic and informal – this is a SEE WHERE IT GOES project…

2.  The Open Source Swan Pedalo requires hospitable HOST communities who can care for and accommodate it for fixed periods of time.

3.  It is desirable that communities and individuals wishing to host the Open Source Swan Pedalo make arrangements for it to be integrated into their projects and ACTIVITIES.

4.  Inventions, modifications, “pimping the swan” – these are all whole-heartedly encouraged BUT remember that the Open Source Swan Pedalo is for everyone – please don’t damage the swan for others.  RESPECT the SWAN.

If you have an idea for where the Open Source Swan Pedalo should go during 2011 – or if there is just something that you would like to try out just leave a comment on this blog.

The Story So Far

Saturday Night’s Pecha Kucha at the Cooperative (part of Mercy’s Midnight Special Series) proved a good point to take stock and tell the story so far of the Open Source Swan Pedalo – 20 slides:20 seconds each – here goes…

Introducing the worlds first Open Source Swan Pedalo – the “People’s Pedalo” – whose provenance can be traced to the “Canal &” project which Re-Dock developed with Alan Dunn in North Liverpool during 2008 at the behest of Liverpool Biennial.

“Canal &” traced and mapped people’s personal and subjective memories of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.  We collected, documented and archived hundreds of people’s memories and stories.  Everything from tales of childhood adventures, tragedies long forgotten and swimming in the polluted water.  Several of these memories were of romance: “I remember kissing the fellas” / “I had my heart broken by the canal”.

We used these starting points as stimuli and asked that people make suggestions for the future of the canal.  Somewhere along the line somebody proposed “A Tunnel of Love” and, along with two dozen others ideas, we created photo-montages to share the ideas further.  The montages were intended for signage installations (later realised with “Constellation of Signs”) and they eventually ended up on a billboard in Linacre.

And here is where a bizarre feedback loop began. Liverpool Biennial went out and purchased four beautiful Swan Pedalos for an unrelated project which they called “Urbanism”.  The Swan Pedalos were managed for the day but, during the night, children came and liberated them – they took them for a ride along the canal and left them stranded there (after much boisterous play).  When the pedalos were discovered the following day one was partially sunk and, in the process of being recovered, it had to be cut to pieces.  The remaining three were heavily chastised for their part in the escape… and many feared they too would never be seen again.

Then, completely unexpectedly, after two years in a storage container in the Eldonian Village the Swan Pedalos showed up on Ebay!  After a couple of days of twitter banter with @biennial we decided to make an offer on the one remaining Swan (its brethren having already made their way to Cornwall.)

Committing £100 was the easy part.  But – rousing a collective infrastructure to transport, store and manage this unweildy beast – that is The Challenge.  On November 16th a group assembled to move the Swan (with assistance from Mal from International Business Supplies) and much of what followed is already well documented on this blog.