Bet your Spinning class was never like this.

In an architectural installation in Lyon, France, sound and light – and a whole lot of tech – come together with 20 bicycle riders, as the cycles appear to generate streams of data that feed the generative, abstract results.

The Magic Cube @Lyon2012 from pixelux on Vimeo.

The cyclists can’t really generate this much power – there’s just not enough energy and efficiency in this system for that – but, via sensors, their pedaling can impact the pattern. Presented at Fête des Lumières at the end of last year in Lyon, this project is a beautiful experiment in making people feel their physical action is connected to what they see. The ingredients:

  • Graphic monolith, “made from a mysterious scattering glowing matter.” (Hmm, environmental impact of that? Heh.)
  • 20 bicycles connected to a core “graphics engine,” measuring speed and “stamina.”
  • Ride for three minutes to “reach the level of pure energy, the white matter.”
  • Derivative’s TouchDesigner does the heavy lifting graphics- and data-processing wise, with graphics, animation, particle generation and physics simulation, GLSL shaders, rendering, programming, DMX light control, and sound modulation.
  • The sound engine is Ableton Live, receiving data from TouchDesigner.
  • “The main challenge” in building this was the generated, 360-degree seamless graphic texture, which flows from the bikes onto this monolith.


Concept / Set Designer: Gilbert Moity
Graphic design and programming: Xavier Gruchet (Pixelux Studio)
Sound Design: Ben Vedren

Thanks to Xavier for sending this in. Full documentation on their site: