By Ella Gibson
Sit back and let the cinema come to you, or hop on a bike and travel with it.
Projector Bike – a concept executed by Joseph Norster and Lee Ramseyer-Bache and run by These Are The Projects We Do Together – is a custom-designed three wheeled cargo bicycle complete with a high-powered projector and stereo system, which enables images and films to be shown in locations around the city.
Operating on the last Friday of every month, and in various festivals and events throughout the year, the mobile cinema screens emerging films.
Projector Bike tends to stick to the arts district, or stop in locations like Argyle Square, but occasionally rides through the CBD. In February it screened in Federation Square after riding up along the river.
The February screening coincided with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and so were decidedly food themed, with titles including I Am Pasta and Odin’s Afterbirth.
As they are incredibly mobile, it can be difficult maintaining audience numbers. They mostly rely on a combination of word of mouth and social media, preferring to use Twitter for location updates.
“It’s very much a gamble, a lot of it is word of mouth,” Mr Ramseyer-Bache said. “We don’t advertise. The work that we do with local council and arts festivals helps to build our audience. It can be 20 people one week, 50 the next.”
However, the mobility of the project means that they can, literally, seek new audiences.
Mr Norster, who works as a lighting designer, is interested in using the concept of utilising lighting to occupy public space and explore how we interact with our environment.
“We became interested in trying to reoccupy space using film, and in taking back public space and challenging what that is,” Mr Ramseyer-Bache said.
“It’s also a great tool for getting emerging films out there,” he said. “We do reach out and find the best new content.”
The public and transient nature of the project creates a communal and participatory environment.
“It’s not just sitting and watching. You’re laughing, you’re reacting – it’s dynamic and weird and wacky. It’s all about people taking up space in their city. It’s adventurous.”
Mr Ramseyer-Bache said, eventually, their goal would be to create a bike that would go to regional Australia and screen films with a social justice message.
“To use the bike as a tool for communication of ideas and raising awareness for issues. That’s the end altruistic goal,” he said.