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Veloscape: a Curating Cities project

Veloscape: a Curating Cities project
Data collection using galvanic skin response, go-pro camera and GPS. Photo: Laura Fisher

Veloscape: a Curating Cities project

Veloscape: a Curating Cities project is a socially engaged creative research project about cycling in Sydney. It is exploring the unique perspective cyclists have on the urban environment and the emotional and sensory dimensions of their experience. 

Veloscape was established in association with the five year ARC linkage project Curating Cities, a partnership between researchers at the National Institute of Experimental Arts (NIEA), UNSW, the City of Sydney, Object Design Centre and Carbon Arts. The Curating Cities project is an investigation of how the arts can generate environmentally beneficial behavioural change and influence the development of green infrastructure in urban environments. Veloscape locates this investigation within the context of Sydney’s unfolding transport infrastructure reforms, core to which is an expanding cycle network in the CBD. By enabling new patterns of mobility, these changes are generating a new geo-spatial politics over road use and public space in Sydney. They have also enabled new practices of place-making around which a range of vibrant activities and communities are taking shape. In light of these changes, Veloscape addresses the need for a greater understanding of the subjective dimensions of the Sydney cycling experience beyond the utilitarian and safety elements that are the focus of many other studies. As both an artistic intervention in the public domain and a research endeavour,Veloscape is exploring the unique perspective the cyclist has on the urban environment, and the spectrum of emotions and sensory stimuli which colours their experience.

As a socially engaged project, Veloscape has been designed to enable the participation of hundreds of Sydney cyclists. A range of tools and interfaces are being utilised to explore the physical, social, navigational and environmental triggers of their affective responses to the city. These include a specially designed biofeedback and sensor data logging device, hands-free photography and video, in situ voice recordings, annotated maps, a mapping website and GIS (Geographic Information System) software. A series of workshops and focus groups will also be staged. Through their involvement, the participating cyclists are both assisting the team to generate useful quantitative and qualitative information of value to future urban design and urban planning endeavours, and be co-creators of a range of dynamic maps and visualisations through which that information can be made meaningful to the public. 

Veloscape 0.5, developed by Volker Kuchelmeister, Laura Fisher and Jill Bennett was exhibited in the exhibition Feral Experimental in 2014. Laura Fisher and Volker Kuchelmeister will presented research in the accompanying symposium and hosted a series of workshops with cyclists. Details are viewable here: Symposium & Workshops: Feral Experimental. Later iterations (Veloscape) v0.6 and v 0.7) developed in collaboration with Jeong Greaves, featured in the closing event of the 2014 Sydney Rides Festival; Experimental Practice: Provocations In and Out of Design, at RMIT Design Hub in 2015; and Experimental Thinking/ Design Practices at Griffith University Art Gallery in 2015.

Veloscape 1.0, created by Volker Kuchelmeister and Laura Fisher, features in the national touring exhibition (2015-2019) People Like Us, currently showing at UNSW Galleries.

On October 2, 2015, Laura Fisher and Sabrina Sokalik are curating the public event Bespoke City, as part of the UNSW Galleries ‘First Fridays’ program. Further details about the event and the project can be found at veloscape.org

This project has been developed in partnership with Carbon Arts, the City of Sydney and Object: Australian Centre for Design.

Curating Cities is supported by the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects funding scheme (LP110200247)

Project date

2014

Funding type

ARC Discovery Project

People

Researchers
Professor Jill Bennett 
Volker Kuchelmeister 
Dr. Laura Fisher 

Research assistants
Jeong Greaves
Alison Groves
Sabrina Sokalik

Curating Cities Project Partners
City of Sydney
Object Design Centre
Carbon Arts