About this project
Squonk’s new outdoor spectacle, Cycle Sonic, will explode with human power, with stages propelled by our original music...and our own legs! Check out this artist rendering of what our parade will look like!
Combining elements of circus parades, bike formations and marching bands, these bicycle floats will sprout bulb-horns and banners, whirligigs and whistles, the swirl and thump of wheel and pedal. A pageant of double-deckers and giant puppet bikers will circle the audience, with backdrops of undulating flags and 20-foot legs pumping with the rhythm of sustainable power. With no carbon footprint, this traveling event will combine the thrill of live performance with the uncelebrated world of the everyday.
Cycle Sonic will be an extension of Squonk’s free spectacles in public settings, starting with our first show in a Pittsburgh junkyard more than 20 years ago. Our last Kickstarter successfully helped drive our show Pneumatica, a street event about air and wind power, to 18 sites, from Calgary to Fort Worth, Iowa City to Providence.
We Need Your Help!
These Squonky spectacles will be free to the public, a democratic art that connects people: we need your help! Your donation will help cover the expenses associated with making a pageant of bike stages, propelling issues of health and green energy. They will also help us build hands-on physics demonstrations for free workshops for public schools and community groups.
Cycle Sonic is driven by an exploration of velocipedes, dandy-horses and rickshaws, embracing mechanical complexity and transparency of function.
Everything comes in cycles: bikes had a golden age, and were the impetus for the invention of chains, shafts, pneumatic tires, transmissions, suspensions and mass production. Early bike-makers included Henry Ford and the Wright brothers. But here in the U.S., bikes morphed into a child’s toy with the advent of fossil fuel. Cycle Sonic will celebrate the resurgence of bikes that serves sustainability, public health and civic life.
The basis of the show…combine a bike with a concert platform into human-powered floats. Legs and wheels are celebrated. These are functional tricycles, made with the help of Pittsburgh’s own Maestro Frameworks, with additional cogs and wheels, including those pretty, orange five-footers.
A Call to Arms:
A simple problem and a “simple” solution- we wanted to be able to wave and gesture while playing our instruments. Get another pair of arms! These will be mechanized.
Orbs and Banners:
It was important to get some color up in the air: we wanna say “party” without saying “trashy.” Flowers, flags and movement provide a setting.
Large enough to be seen from far away and with enough expressive control to be interesting, this comic duo of puppets, made with the help of Pittsburgh studio TolinFX, will interact with each other and the audience. Big legs will pedal and giant hands will steer the bikes.
Rewards using Project Sketches:
Most ideas start with nothing more than a coffee and a pencil. Kick in $250 or more and you’ll receive this limited edition Cycle Sonic cup featuring sketches from Steve’s notebook, made by Pittsburgh artist Turnbuckle Farm.
Cycle Sonic will combine the thrill of live performance with the uncelebrated world of the everyday. And we will provide associated STEAM workshops for children and families, reaching out to underserved and young audiences. Following the premiere, the show will tour nationally, free to the public.
Risks and challenges
The challenge is creating an event that creates a community of the imagination from groups of bystanders. Also - we are building bikes that are moving stages and it isn’t easy…with two riders, instruments, and a sound system they will weigh about 750 pounds each. The musician rider will be 6 feet off the ground. And, they must use human power to make all kinds of festive stuff happen. Sure, it won’t be a NASCAR speedfest, but it doesn’t need to use an ounce of fossil fuel.
Making an outdoor spectacle of human-powered stages is a big project, and a critique of commodity art and the corporate celebutantes, who keep thinking our tires will go flat. Sure, polite and plutocratic art is out there, but do we really need more?
Because here’s the truth: there is no stopping a free and democratic art form whose time has come, no matter how many search engines those others own. Our engine is our own two legs…and the truth!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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