Global Observer

Bike-powered movies on show in Hong Kong

Bike-powered movies on show in Hong Kong

Posting in Design

HONG KONG -- At movie screenings hosted by Magnificent Revolution, audiences are treated to short films in outdoor theaters--but they have to work for it. Or more precisely, work out for it.

Walker testing a bicycle that will be used in an outdoor movie theater

HONG KONG -- At movie screenings hosted by Magnificent Revolution, audiences are treated to short films in outdoor theaters—but they have to work for it. Or more precisely, work out for it.

That’s because the films are powered entirely by bicycle. Audience members can take turns riding, but the bicycles that have been rigged to generate electricity are the only things keeping the projector going.

Magnificent Revolution, a non-profit led by Adam Walker from the U.K., travels the world and organizes film screenings to spread an environmental message in a fun and engaging way.

“We try and bring people together to experience something new and exciting, to create a tangible link between energy and technology and give people a positive viewpoint of what the future’s going to be like,” Walker said.

It all started in 2007, when his idea of a bike-powered drive-in movie became reality at the U.K.’s Big Chill music festival. Since then, Magnificent Revolution has expanded to Australia with a second branch. An upcoming European tour in the works now.

And today, Walker is in Hong Kong, where he is setting up outdoor film screenings at green design show Detour. He is also scouting for more venues around town and looking for local filmmakers who might want to screen their films. “The idea is to interact with the local culture and do films that are relevant to the place,” he said.

Walker said the cycle-in cinemas have received generally good reception from both the children who love getting on the stationery bikes and adults who are able to intuit the connection between the input and output of energy. Using this experiential and visual setup, he aims to send an optimistic message about environmentalism instead of framing climate change in a negative light.

“This is an amazing opportunity for us to be as experimental and ingenious as we can be,” he said. “The human race is an amazing species, we’ve come up with amazing stuff. There’s no reason why this new phase of our civilization is going to ruin us. We can adapt to it.”

Photo: Vanessa Ko

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Vanessa Ko

Correspondent (Hong Kong)

Vanessa Ko has written for TIME, South China Morning Post and Phnom Penh Post. She holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Hong Kong. She is based in Hong Kong, China. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure