Dunlop Meets Dyson

Spokesmen Guy Bishop & Alan Brown
Spokesmen Guy Bishop & Alan Brown

Further developments in the construction of Dunlop’s Pedal Powered Time Machine. The main act, a pedal powered zoetrope designed & built by Guy, is now complete.

Alan & I continue to worry over the images that will line the spinning drum.

Stacked layers of images will create a sort of multistorey zoetrope, or perhaps more fittingly a zoetrope multiplex.

Common or Garden

Dear reader, isn’t it amazing just how useful old bicycle parts, a walking stick, a stretch of rope & the head of a broom can be?

Using these common or garden ingredients, Guy’s almost reinvented the vacuum cleaner.

I say almost because in reality it’s closer in form & function to the (in my opinion much undervalued) Ewbank.

Tyreless Energy
Tyreless Energy

It’ll need a few tweaks before it can actually sweep anything up effectively. At present it’s great at randomly flicking dirt around.

Might the attachment of a small compass to the body of the device help matters, we mused.

Naturally this is all part of the process of innovation.

This isn’t my first brush with the world of vacuum cleaners, nor indeed innovation.

Back in 1994 I was programming a short film expo called Light Fantastic for Bath Fringe Festival along with a friend of mine Lucy Reynolds.

Somehow we had the entrepreneurial sense to approach local businesses & see if they’d cough up £50 in return for the making of a short commercial on Super 8 which we’d show during screenings.

Amongst those we approached was James Dyson, inventor of the world famous Dyson Dual Cyclone.

At that time Dyson was based near Bath. He wasn’t nearly quite so famous back then & I was able to meet him in person, at his modest factory, to discuss ideas.

‘I’d like to do a spoof on the American 1950’s housewife … you know, saturated colours, paternalistic voice-over, that kind of thing?’ I ventured feebly, not feeling particularly inspired. I assumed that vacuum cleaners were a non-starter, artistically speaking.


‘You shall not’ he twitched.

‘Housework is not a thing of ridicule. It is sex’.

Inspired, I took his advice.

The final 30″ film features words stenciled in sand being inhaled by a Dyson Dual Cyclone, set against the angular guitar riffery of Wire’s classic 12XU.

Guy’s also adapted an old sit-down Singer sewing machine, enabling the user to power a small bike wheel.

With Alan’s careful placement of magnets along the spokes, this set-up will create pulses of electricity, illuminating a sequence of slide viewers displaying engraved images from the museum’s collection.

Alan’s combined an old exercise bike with a bar stool & a 16mm film spool, ready to pedal a film loop. He’s also planning to engrave a map of Scotland onto a 78 rpm shellac record & create technical drawings for inner tube designs, ie, a circle or two.

Silver Screen Machine
Silver Screen Machine

Meanwhile I’ve been dreaming up spoof correspondence between Dunlop & Kirkpatrick Macmillan (inventor of the velocipede) & worrying & blogging.

The exhibit Dunlop’s Pedal Powered Time Machine runs from May 30th – September 12th at the Dick Institute Museum & Art Gallery.

Dunlop Meets Dyson

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