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Event Spotlight: Twin Pedals

April 14, 2016

Shoeb and Kate Ahmed have combined their quite distinct practices in the immersive, experimental event Twin Pedals.

We caught up with Shoeb and Kate to find out more.

 

Kate Ahmad. Photo courtesy the artist

Kate Ahmad. Photo courtesy the artist

Hi Shoeb and Kate! Tell us a bit about yourselves and your practices:

Kate: I always liked craft and quite often had multiple projects on the go, which are generally completed whilst watching the Tour de France or other late night cycling events through the winter months. After many scarves, I turned to producing abstract landscape embroideries.

Shoeb: I’ve been working between being a songwriter and a sound artist for more than a decade now. This includes being in bands such as Spartak and Agency, with numerous releases and tours under my belt. Twin Pedals is the first time I’ve composed for a chamber ensemble in a site-specific setting.

 

What inspired you to create Twin Pedals?

K: I love the topography of the stages, SBS in particular have these fantastically bright statistic pages which I have always found great, not only for the imagery but to help me learn the ins and outs of cycling. Creating this piece I wanted to bring some of the bright circus-like aspect of the sport, big bold colours, the jerseys and sponsors logos plastered over everything.
S: The rivalry between Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault fascinated me because of all the underlying connotations – new world vs old world, young vs old, US vs Europe etc. Adding to this drama is the fact that they are actually team mates, which amps up how strange it is that road cycling is a team sport, even though the accolades are all individual.

 

How did your two, quite distinct practices mesh together for the project?

K: We both get different things out of cycling, I love to watch the beautiful country side as the riders go by. I would also keep myself from falling to sleep in the cold July nights by knitting or making an embroidery but soon became interested in the race itself and it has been something we share ever since.

S: I’ve always found it nice to share my interest in cycling with Kate so this project has been a good way to bring together what the each of us finds interesting about the sport to create a work that illuminates the narrative we have been following, visually and sonically.

Shoeb Ahmad. Image courtesy the artist

Shoeb Ahmad. Image courtesy the artist

 

What can audiences expect from the work?

K: I have created a large scale stage map, using recycled and donated jerseys from various riders and teams, that brings a vibrant back drop to the music. Hopefully you will track through the stage, up and down the slopes, allowing you to feel the intensity of the steep climbs.

S: A sonic meditation on team politics, personal tension, paranoia, altitude sickness and uneasy joy that inhabits the space and allows you to immerse yourself in the music.

Twin Pedals is part of YAH’s Dangerous Territory stream of commissioned events, what’s your experience presenting work in non-traditional spaces?

K: Bringing something hand stitched into a space such as this is quite unique, you wouldn’t expect to find a recycled fabric mountain range in a night club. The large room and high ceilings have let my imagination explore a scale that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought about.

S: I have always enjoyed presenting concerts outside of non-traditional venues and creating sound pieces for specific spaces so I’m looking forward to setting up the performers up to surround the audience, almost like an installation, and have the music resonate in the space as I imagined during the compositional process.

 

Are you both cycling fans? What was it about this particular event that grabbed you?

K: I have become a fan, many years have helped me to understand and appreciate the immense physical effort of the riders and regardless of that it is largely a mental game which makes it intriguing especially in this stage. Every race has the potential to be history in the making.

S: I became a cycling fan in my late primary school years as I loved to ride my bike and discovered cyclists like Stuart O’Grady and Robbie McEwen. Later on, I learnt more about the history of the Tour de France and with the Lance Armstrong saga, there is a new layer of doping and it’s practices which make for a darker experience altogether. The 1986 Tour de France is particularly interesting to me because of how LeMond and Hinault’s personal battle was played out day in day out in public and fans were divided over their allegiances, especially as they happened to be riding for the same team!

Tell us a fun fact – about anything!

K: I quite often fall asleep during a stage, to wake up later (even after the race had finished) To try and hide the fact that I had by making a uninformed comment on the leader. A rouse that was seen straight though by Shoeb, given away mostly by my snoring.

S: I have a strange ability to absorb fact and figures from many of the sports I love – I guess I’m a bit of a ‘statto’ – but what makes things worse is that I end up reeling off information about the occurring race or game rather than watch the actual event itself.

What YAH 2016 events are you both most looking forward to seeing?

K: Née (born as) – behind every handcrafted work there is always a story, this is something to be savoured.
S: Very keen to hear Happy Axe x GhostNoises and Pieces For Cars, Tunnels and Hexagonal Vents while Not For Kids, Bring Your Kids should be a good afternoon out too.