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.

Continue reading “Dunlop Meets Dyson”

Dunlop Meets Dyson

Dunlop’s Pedal Powered Time Machine

An Update on Work In Progress

Mighty Dunlop

As part of the Dick Institute Museum & Art Gallery’s summer exhibition Ayrshire Innovators, artists Guy Bishop, Alan Brown & Matt Hulse have been commissioned to create an interactive exhibit, Dunlop’s Pedal Powered Time Machine.

Participants will be invited to sit upon & pedal a hand-built bicycle, powering a series of visual effects including moving imagery produced by a zoetrope, which rapidly rotates static images to create one of the oldest forms of optical illusion.

It's All About Cycles
Guy Works (It) Out

The work is inspired by Ayrshire-born John Boyd Dunlop’s invention of the ‘practical pneumatic tyre’ & his contemporary, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, credited with the invention of the pedal bicycle, or ‘velocipede’. Matt proposed the original idea for the exhibition & the three Scottish-based artists developed the idea collaboratively, designing & constructing devices that could be used to explore the emergence of the world’s most popular form of sustainable transport.

Show The Working
Showing The Working at Alan's Place

The exhibit will be set in an imagined workshop-come-drawing room, creating a ‘hive of activity’ in which inventors such as Dunlop may have worked, with experiments, half-finished inventions & new ideas spilling over into the domestic environment.

The materials used in the exhibit will be sourced from scrap yards & recycling centres, ensuring that the project stays true to its aim of re-using where possible. Some of the Dick’s own museum artifacts will be incorporated to help set the scene. The complex network of handle-bars, tyres, wires & spokes will create a sense of playful experimentation, reminding us that innovation is often the result of a seemingly chaotic & untidy process of trial & error.

Continue reading “Dunlop’s Pedal Powered Time Machine”

Dunlop’s Pedal Powered Time Machine