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Cyclists Wanted for Pedal L.A. Installation for L.A. State Historic Park

4:43 PM PDT on April 27, 2015

David xxx demonstrates xxxxx photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
David Gauch demonstrates Pedal L.A. - all photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
David xxx demonstrates xxxxx photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

I recently got a preview of Pedal L.A. - a fascinating new bicycle-themed interactive art installation for the Los Angeles State Historic Park. What I saw was the work-in-progress prototype. The installation's creator, David Gauch, is looking to Southern California's diverse cycling community to get involved in using his project to tell our stories.

If you are interested in volunteering your L.A. cycling experiences, go to the Pedal L.A. website and fill out the participation form. All kinds of cyclists from all walks of life are needed to capture the experience of riding a bicycle in all corners of the city and with as much diversity as possible. Gauch will be interviewing all volunteer participants, and will provide equipment to document a route that you bicycle from time to time.

Visitor orientation center building under construction at L.A. State Historic Park
Welcome center building under construction at L.A. State Historic Park
Visitor orientation center building under construction at L.A. State Historic Park

Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP), formerly known as the Cornfields Yard, is the under-construction state park that connects downtown L.A.'s Chinatown with the L.A. River. The site-specific art installation is tailored to fit at LASHP's under-construction Welcome Center, which orients visitors to the park and the Los Angeles histories that the park interprets.

xxxx David Gauch
Pedal L.A. creator digital media artist David Gauch
xxxx David Gauch

Gauch is an undergraduate studying Interpretive Digital Media at UCLA’s Film School. His focus in Interactive Art. As he describes the project: "I am excited to create a participatory platform from which people from all over the city and country will visit the Los Angeles Historic State Park and will have the opportunity to engage with this interactive project whose content is created by Angelenos that bicycle. It is my hope that this project raises continued awareness and discussion about alternative transportation options in our city, continuing the momentum that has been building thanks to so many in our community."

Gauch continues, "As a Filmmaker this project has pushed me beyond the traditional tools used in traditional media forms. It’s exciting to be working in the future of media. Media in the traditional form has been a passive experience (we sit in a theater, we sit on our couch, we read a book). Pedal L.A. is using current motion sensing technology to create an interactive experience. Meaning visitors to the park will participate in creating a communal experience by physically moving their bodies around the interior of the Welcome Center."

Interactive media installations are a bit difficult to describe. Or even to photograph.

The video below gives some sense of what to expect.

Pedal L.A. - Demo Video - 2nd Prototype from David Gauch (TriSummit Prod.) on Vimeo.

Gauch, along with others (developing installations centered on affordable housing, the L.A. River, and other subjects) have actually created a to-scale replica of the interior of the park visitor center. The installation visuals display via five floor-to-ceiling screens on the four walls of the visitor center. As viewers move around the room, motion sensors equate their location in the room with a location in the L.A. basin. The sensors input feeds a front-three-walls display of videos shot by bicyclists in that area. Each person in the space will have a bicycle on the front screen that reacts to their individual movement. The goal is to create a video collage of overlapping people riding bicycles traveling all over the city.

View of the back walls of the LASHP installation
View of the back walls of the LASHP installation
View of the back walls of the LASHP installation

The back walls feature two floor-to-ceiling screens that show footage of cyclists riding Southern California streets. Viewers standing close to these will hear audio the first-person accounts of the L.A. cyclists' experiences.

Pedal L.A. will premiere at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Film Festival which takes place June 5 through 11. This project will be shown multiple days during the festival at the Film School (Melnitz Hall) and at its replica room at IMlab, in Chinatown across from LASHP. Once the Los Angeles Historic State Park is complete, expected in early 2016, Pedal L.A. will be featured as one of a number of installations showing at the park's Welcome Center.

The Pedal L.A. installation was made possible through the commission of California State Parks for IMlab to develop new technologies to engage the public in their parks, and IMlab in return has worked with UCLA students to develop these interactive projects for the park. Funding was provided through a grant from the Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment. IMlab is a part of the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA.

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