Leeds16-17 May 2014
Ghost Peloton was an ambitious collaboration between NVA and Leeds based Phoenix Dance Theatre, in partnership with the national cycling advocacy charity, Sustrans.
It was one of the acknowledged key highlights of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, marking the build-up to the Grand Départ and the opening two stages of the Tour de France which was witnessed by millions live over the two days of racing.
Inspired by the wheel in motion, the work fused performance cycling with athletic choreography performed by Phoenix’s dancers. The landscape of Yorkshire became an open canvas carrying a new visual language of light in motion, as Ghost Peloton took the work into a new creative territory, using cycling as the core of mass communal movement.
Working with filmmaker Mark Huskisson Ghost Peloton includes a new film which was broadcast in connection with the opening days of the Grand Départ and the monumental, sold out public performances in Waides Yard, central Leeds which took place on 16 & 17 May set to an original electronic score by Frame Missing and stunning visual projections by digital design collective NOVAK.
“The fluidity is breathtaking and becomes, as darkness falls, oddly moving. The peloton starts to resemble a mass of sensors, restlessly taking the temperature of the evening sky. This is the mystery of public art, that if done well it can create an invisible barrier around itself, placing it in a magically different world from the ‘real’ one just inches away.”
– Laura Thompson, The Telegraph
Ghost Peloton was a signature event for the Yorkshire Festival 2014, the first ever arts festival to precede the Tour de France, the world’s biggest annual sporting event. The festival ran from 27th March to the 6th July 2014 and was backed by Welcome to Yorkshire, Yorkshire Water and Arts Council England as well as Local Authorities across the county. The festival attracted over 800,000 visitors and generated £10M for the local economy.
The festival created an incredible legacy of engagement and connection between art and sporting activity. A detailed evaluation report is available to download highlighting the success of the festival and Ghost Peloton.
“Cyclists and LED lights make for the most stunning public art performance of the year”
– John Benjamin, Urbanful
As well as an extraordinary event for audiences of over 3,500, Ghost Peloton also created opportunities for 36 road cyclists to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be one of our illuminated riders.
Interns and volunteers were also involved in creating the work and experiencing the behind-the-scenes atmosphere of Ghost Peloton, and 120 audience members were given the chance to take part in a Pedal-In event with our partners Sustrans, forming group rides to the performance location.
“Ghost Peloton offered sensation and spectacle that stretched you beyond the visible yard and beyond measurable time…I loved it: I can’t think of another event I’ve attended in Leeds that has such a European atmosphere, and while the Yorkshire Festival is a celebration of all things Yorkshire, the Ghost Peloton has made it a celebration beyond our borders to an international stage.”
– Daniel Chapman, City Talking
The film Ghost Peloton was created as a commissioned component of the work, filmed and directed by Mark Huskisson. It shows his response to Ghost Peloton’s celebration of the spirit of the Tour de France and captures the stunning time-lapse footage of the ephemeral experience with additional choreography from dancers and location rides across Yorkshire.
“The racing cycles were creating a set of imagery I had never seen. That’s a very exciting moment – when you’re seeing something visually for the first time.”
– Angus Farquhar, Creative Director
The short film was launched as part of a Speed of Light world film premiere event at SWG3 in Glasgow in partnership with the Creator’s Project online. After launching, the video went viral, reaching over 120,000 views within the first week online, being selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick and included in worldwide coverage including the Huffington Post’s culture pages and BBC online news.
The Ghost Peloton film was also selected as part of the Channel 4 Showcase for the Kendal Mountain Festival 2014, and was awarded Silver in the Best Artistic Film category of the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival 2015.