[ISEA2013] Artists Statement: Tega Brain & Gavin Sade — THE LYCRA INDEX: CYCLING SPEED MYTHS IN URBAN SYDNEY

Artists Statement

The Lycra Index is a project that explores anxieties associated with cycling speeds in Sydney. It responds to the considerable media attention given to anti-cycling lobbyists in the wake of the construction of the Sydney’s controversial cycle way network. The Lycra Index is calculated from speed data collected by the City of Sydney, data that they choose not to publicly release. This data is analysed to predict the ratio of lycra-clad, fast moving cyclists to slower moving casual cyclists in an attempt to forecast cycling conditions throughout the week.
The index is expressed using the familiar forecasting language of meteorological predictions. It also correlates the speed clocked by the sensor network to cycling sterotypes such as MAMILS (Middle-Aged-Men-In-Lycra) who tend to travel at the highest speeds. The Lycra Index was found to be highest during the morning peak hour with very low incidents of high cycling speeds being found during the weekend.
Finally this project proposes that the Lycra Index predictions be publically displayed along Sydney cycleways in a public feedback experiment and to dispel misinformation about the risks of cycling in Sydney. By demonstrating that typical conditions on Sydney’s cycleways are low speed, The Lycra Index reveals that anxieties associated with cycling speed do not reflect actual conditions on city’s new cycleways.

  • Tega Brain’s work explores the relationship between humans and the environment through the creation of experimental installations, situations and objects. From a background in environmental engineering, her practice is inherently interdisciplinary as it explores and rethinks issues of science and environmental engineering. She is interested in the creative and experimental use of technologies and works across a wide range of time based media, sculpture and installation. Tega was recently awarded a Creative Australia Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts, which recognise artists who have already made a significant contribution to Australian culture and to those that are taking an original approach to artistic practice.
  • Dr Gavin Sade is a designer in the field of interactive computational media, with a background in music and sonology. He is currently the Head of Interactive and Visual Design in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology. Gavin holds a Bachelor of Music (Sonology) from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and a PhD in interactive media arts and sustainability. He has been creating interactive media systems and electronic art since 1990, and has exhibited numerous internationally at venues from Taipei and Singapore to Istanbul and Belfast. In 2003 he formed Kuuki, a creative media collective, and has since lead the production of a number of high profile electronic and largescale public artworks. In 2011 Gavin won the QUT outstanding thesis award for his PhD. Gavin’s research interests lie at the intersection of art, design and sustain-ability, with a focus on transdisciplinarity and creative practice-led research methods.